Photo Information

Service members with II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward) gather at the base chapel aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, for a memorial service in honor of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2009. During the service, attendees were encouraged to reflect on memories of veterans, past and present

Photo by Cpl. Triah Pendracki

Deployed service members observe Veterans Day with memorial service

15 Nov 2009 | Cpl. Triah Pendracki

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson declared the American people would remember the fallen heroes of the nation on Armistice Day, which was named for the armistice between the allies and Germany on Nov. 11, 1918, which called for the end of hostilities between the two sides.

Today, service members and civilians alike take time to remember not only the fallen, but also those men and women on the front lines in operations abroad.

Aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, service members gathered at the base chapel, Nov. 11, 2009, for a memorial service dedicated to those who have gone before them and the heroes who continue the fight.

By our presence here, we honor them, said Col. Scott D. Aiken, commanding officer of II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward). We are taking the time out of our schedule to stop and remember and give them a proper tribute.

During the ceremony, service members sang patriotic hymns and read scriptures from the bible, but the main point was remembrance.

�We are here to remember all of us serving now and those who have gone before us, said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Bigelow, chaplain for Al Asad's Base Command Group.

According to President Barack Obama's 2009 Veterans Day proclamation, On Veterans Day, we honor the heroes we have lost, and we rededicate ourselves to the next generation of veterans by supporting our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen as they return home from duty.

Aiken, the guest speaker at the event, concluded the service with his final thoughts on Veterans Day.

One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Jefferson, and I think it is very true. He said, The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Remember this as we think of the long line of veterans in the future and before us.