CAMP ZAMA, Japan – U.S. Army Garrison Japan hosted a Memorial Day Ceremony here Monday to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their nation.
“We stand here today with a deep sense of honor, reverence and gratitude as we pay respect to the selflessness, valor and unwavering dedication that define the members of our Army and all our armed forces, both past and present,” said USAG Japan commander and ceremony host Col. Christopher Tomlinson in the newly named Kizuna Hall.
Tomlinson said the wreath-laying ceremony offered the opportunity for the community to reflect upon and remember the sacrifices by the “courageous and precious souls who answered the call and paid the ultimate price to safeguard our cherished freedoms.”
Event master-of-ceremonies Capt. Ashley Lebaube said America’s Memorial Day traditions date back to the Civil War, when decorating the graves of loved ones became a regular occurrence. At that time, it was referred to as “Decoration Day.” It wasn’t until 1967 that the holiday was officially named Memorial Day. A year later, in 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed and declared that Memorial Day would be celebrated the last Monday of each May, Lebaube said.
Tomlinson urged attendees to remember the families of the fallen comrades—the husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who lost so much.
“Their strength and courage are a testament to the enduring spirit of our Army family,” Tomlinson said. “On this day, we offer them our heartfelt gratitude and pledge our unwavering support.”
Following his remarks, Tomlinson and USAG Japan Command Sgt. Maj. David Rio marched onto the stage and placed a wreath in honor of the fallen heroes.
Standing at attention, Tomlinson and Rio saluted the wreath as a U.S. Army Japan Band Soldier played taps on the bugle.
“May we never forget the sacrifices of our fallen heroes,” Tomlinson said. “May their memory be eternal and may we strive to be worthy of the freedoms they so selflessly defended.”