Service members and wounded warriors salute as the National Anthem is sung during the NATO Multinational Role 3 Medical Unit Memorial Day ceremony, May 28, 2012, at Kandahar, Afghanistan. More than 150 service members and wounded warriors attended the ceremony in remembrance of those who’ve served in any war conflict. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (May 29, 2012) — More than 150 service members and wounded warriors attended the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit Memorial Day ceremony, May 28. The ceremony was dedicated in remembrance of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in the call of duty.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Capt. Bruce C. Meneley, commander of the NATO Role 3 Kandahar Medical Unit – Afghanistan, who reminded everyone that no matter what branch they’re in NATO Role 3 will stand united continuing to treat those who serve.
“If you’re serving in this area of operations we will provide the best care that anyone can receive,” Meneley said. “If a service member gets hurt our hospital is where they’ll want to be.”
During the ceremony, the folding and passing of the flag was done in memory of Pfc. Cale C. Miller a member Bravo 4th Battalion, 23rd infantry regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, who died in combat a couple of weeks earlier. Miller’s squad leader Staff Sgt. Jeff Howerton, a wounded warrior, accepted the flag in honor of his comrade.
“I’m honored to not only be a part of this ceremony, but I’m honored to receive Miller’s flag so I can present it to his family back home,” said Howerton. “Miller was kid that no one would ever forget no matter what day it is. He was that special.”
Menely presented a certificate to Howerton for Miller’s family after the ceremony and thanked him for everything he and his comrades have sacrificed.
“It’s so monumental to have these guys here,” Meneley said. “It’s a real honor and humbling experience to take care of these wounded warriors.
After the ceremony, the NATO Role 3 continued to observe Memorial Day by serving burgers and franks to the wounded warriors.
“Everyday people complain about the little things, but it’s moments like this that makes everyone reflect on the important things,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Taneeka Hawkins, the senior enlisted personnel administrator for NATO Role 3. “I couldn’t have envisioned the ceremony gong so well and to see everyone eating together…it’s really special.
”For some people they don’t need a day to remember those who’ve served because everyday they are reminded that freedom is not free.