Saturday, May 15, 2010
A Law Enforcement Memorial Candlelight Vigil in Baghdad
My unit received a short-notice invitation to a local memorial tonight here at Camp Victory. It was held at sunset at a general's residence on one of the lakes, and was well-attended. Although only the 22 names of Military Police Regiment soldiers who had died over here were read out loud, I was honoring in my heart those from Washington State. At the same moment our ceremony began, the Muslim prayers began echoing from the many mosques surrounding the base, and seemed to me like a sympathetic chorus. Our somber faces lit by candles, we listened to very short comments from the commanding general, prayers from a chaplain, followed by "Amazing Grace" played not expertly, but with feeling by an amateur piper. The ceremony concluded with sounding "Taps" as we all saluted until the last note rolled across the lake. I was grateful to have an opportunity to pay my respects to my fellow soldiers who laid down their lives this past year, and even more so to be able to belatedly honor Ronnie, Tina, Greg, Mark, and Kent...and of course, Johnny B.
Though I have helped coordinate and/or been to many Law Enforcement memorials over the past 20 years, this evening's ceremony was special and unique; the memory will stay with me always.