"The American military is like no other military in the world, because the American military reflects a nation like no other nation in the world," declared Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, in his keynote address as part of Governor Sonny Perdue's Memorial Day proclamation-signing ceremony at the state capitol May 21.

Campbell thanked the approximately 100 dignitaries and servicemembers in attendance for coming to honor the sacrifice of their countrymen.

"Mourning our fallen comrades calls forth many emotions. We are saddened that they no longer stand in our ranks. We are respectful of the strength of their character and the depth of their courage. We are proud of their devoted service and their selfless sacrifice. And we are grateful for their willingness to be guardians of our freedom," he said.

Campbell assured the audience that today's Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines derive strength and inspiration from the quality of service and sacrifice demonstrated by those who came before them.

"(They) know that freedom is not free. They understand that a price must be paid ... that a sacrifice must be made. Yet they only ask for the opportunity to serve .... They will remain strong of heart, strong of character, strong of body, strong of mind, strong of spirit."

Speaking of the current protracted conflict with a ruthless enemy, he observed, "I do not know exactly the course the struggle will take or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. I do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice, and I know with God's help, we will prevail."

Campbell concluded, "Let us be proud of our military and, in particular, let us pay tribute to our fallen heroes and to their FA,Aamilies. Let us make every day we walk free, unshackled and unbowed a Memorial Day."