SOUTHWEST ASIA –
This Veterans Day, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve commemorated the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I with a ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq.
Armistice Day is observed annually on Nov. 11 and coincides with Veterans Day and Remembrance Day. Veterans Days honors all American Veterans, and Remembrance Day honors those members of the armed forces who died while serving in the line of duty.
Lt. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, CJTF-OIR commanding general said, "we are gathered here today, to pay respect to our nations’ militaries and to honor those individuals who sacrificed all for the sake of freedom and the safety of our homelands."
Maj. Gen. (UK) Christopher Ghika, CJTF-OIR deputy commander said, "Baghdad in 1918 was the center of one of the theatres of the First World War. We might pause for a moment and reflect on the significance of being in this city on the centenary of the end of that war."
During the ceremony, CJTF-OIR senior leaders laid wreaths to honor all service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice, including the 39 coalition service members who lost their lives in the defeat-ISIS operation.
"Our service men and women continue to answer the call to duty, and are the lifeblood of our nations’ fighting forces. Their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way, while serving on the frontiers of freedom and for the benefit of all mankind, is not forgotten," said LaCamera. "Looking across the audience today, I see the many uniforms and patches that make up our coalition – and it is astounding to me."
Ghika continued, "as we stand here today, we remember not only those who have died but also draw into sharp focus the cost of war, the impact on nations, the cost to nations, that evil must be confronted and the opportunity that every generation has to improve on what has gone before."
Citing the Kohima Epitaph, enshrined on the War Cemetery in Kohima, India, Ghika concluded, "when you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today."
There are currently 74 nations and five international organizations that make up the Global Coalition, consisting of professional men and women from all different walks of life, who remain resolved to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS and their hateful ideology.