KABUL, Afghanistan – The NATO-led Resolute Support mission paused for a Memorial Day ceremony, May 28, at Resolute Support headquarters to remember those service members who died in service of their nation.
The ceremony was presided over by U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, Resolute Support and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) commander.
"Today, here in Kabul, we want to especially honor our fallen from this war. We remember all of the American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines killed in Afghanistan,” said Nicholson.
He asked the crowd of Resolute Support staff to remember and honor the latest service member killed in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Spc. Gabriel Conde, killed in action, April 30, in Kapisa province.
During his remarks, Nicholson shared the stories of three U.S. Army Soldiers – Lt. Col. Joseph Fenty, Pfc. Justin Davis and Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti – killed-in-action while serving under his command in Afghanistan. He described their heroism and last acts of valor as he recalled their commitment to their country, families and brothers and sisters-in-arms.
"Our duty is to remember them, say their names, tell their stories and ensure that we never, never forget them,” said Nicholson.
A combination of American and international service members, and civilians gathered for the ceremony. They stoically reflected on past sacrifices and the hope for a peaceful future for Afghanistan.
"It was important to me to thank those who gave their all and honor their sacrifice with my presence at this ceremony today,” said U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Nadine Ross, assigned to the Resolute Support headquarters.
Nicholson also recognized during his remarks the ongoing commitments made not only by American and international service members, but Afghans as well.
"Commemorating this sacred day here in Afghanistan offers us a special opportunity to recognize the tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers and policemen who have died in the defense of their nation,” said Nicholson. "So, it is all of these sacrifices Americans, coalition, Afghan that have all contributed to the unprecedented time we are in. A time when two peace offers are on the table, there is a national call for peace by the Afghan people and there is an outpouring of support from the international community in support of the peace process.”
Nicholson concluded his remarks by speaking to the Soldiers in the audience. He asked that anyone who bares the loss of a fellow service member honor that person’s choice to serve the nation and remember to tell that person’s story.
"We must all, each of us, be worthy of them,” said Nicholson. "Part of the way that we prove our worthiness is through the quality of our service. As we look forward to the task at hand in this unprecedented time, we pay respects to our hallowed dead by dedicating ourselves to this worthy mission. We honor their legacy by continuing to serve, fight, and die if necessary, in the cause of protecting our nation, and bringing peace and stability wherever and whenever it is required.”
Established in 2015, Resolute Support (RS) is a NATO-led, non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan’s security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. Its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.