11 November 2014

Remembrance Day in Afghanistan

Poppies dotted the chests of most of the Soldiers in the crowd.

It's a British custom, I am learning. Houston and I went to Kabul to follow up our work on the MG Harold Greene Memorial. The dedication of a pavilion in his honor was held at Camp ISAF, where Green worked.

We stopped at a different facility, called New Kabul Compound, and grabbed lunch. I really can't do justice to the little third-country national who politely yelled at me for taking bread without the aid of utensils, so I'll skip that part. But I was glad I took it, because it made one of the best PB&J sandwiches I've had in a long time.

And as we sat in the beautiful November weather in Kabul, poppy-donning soldiers began to congregate. The 11th hour was approaching.

A brief ceremony commemorated what we in the U.S. refer to as Veterans Day. The American flag was at half mast, next to its Afghan counterpart raised all the way. It is the first time I had ever seen that.

The crowd was about 200 uniformed strong, mostly U.S. But I saw a few Brits, a handful of Germans, a dozen or so Mongolians, and two Romanians. A Canadian general spoke. A pair of British buglers played "Last Post" and "Reveille."

It was moving.

One hundred years have passed, and some of our allies are the same, while former enemies are now friends. It's interesting how great powers wax and wane, strategic alliances develop and crumble, usually in battlefields like Afghanistan.

But Veterans Day is about the individual Soldiers-- those who have fought overseas in defense of or duty to their country.

Remember them. 

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