Monday, March 19, 2012

Afghanistan through My Eyes - Memorial Service

Today I attended my first memorial service.

It was on FOB Joyce in Kunar Province in honor of 2LT Clovis T. Ray.

I have attended a ramp ceremony before where the body, draped with an American flag, is wheeled down a ramp to an awaiting helicopter. A truly moving experience that I feel every politician should have to attend.

But at the memorial service the soldiers comrades give tribute. I was markedly impressed with the poise these young men had speaking so lovingly of their "gun-dog" platoon leader. After the tributes there was a "Last Roll Call" where the names of the platoon were called out and the soldiers answered, all but LT Ray. Then came the gun salute and finally "Taps" was played. I now understand why the Veteran's I have met, do not like Taps. But what really got you was when each soldier went up to LT Ray's boots, saluted, kneeled, some touched his dog tags, rose and then saluted again. Some left offerings of medals and badges.

As we flew back from the service on our Blackhawk helo, passing over the sepia colored landscape, I couldn't help but wonder how much we've really accomplished over here in Afghanistan.