I spent this Memorial Day as my day off for the month of May. Odd because I’m in Afghanistan and you usually don’t get a day off in a warzone. My boss instituted a department policy that we get one day off a month. It is a rest and relax day—from the 15-18 hours we put in. This generally doesn’t happen for every unit here. But we’re in Kabul and have a little more freedom than other places.
The reason I choose this day is because it was the best day for May that I had. Early in the month wouldn’t work because of other commitments.
My plan for the day was simple: take my EWS test, PT, and talk to my wife. I don’t think I realized fully that today was Memorial Day until a couple of days ago when I received an email as a reminder for the service at 1030.
Every week we have a memorial service for the past week’s fallen. Each country to lose someone will read out the name and unit of the fallen. I attend every week. It is the least I can do. I’m not on the front line like they are. It is a way to ensure that we, at HQ, do not forget the human loss extracted from our countries.
Today, we recognized an American day of remembrance and invited any and all of our coalition members to attend. It was fairly well attended. No names were read off, but General Allen gave the number of the fallen Americans, Coalition members, and Afghans who have died in this war since he took command last year.
My usual Memorial Day plan is to enjoy the day off, have a good time, live life, and general not acknowledge the cost of war. Not the way I have since arriving in Kabul. I don’t doubt that I’ll revert back to my normal behavior when I get back, but I’d like to think I’ll always keep these weekly services in my mind and that when Memorial Day does come around I’ll do something in remembrance.