Members of the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain and US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/US Fifth Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces paid tribute to those who sacrificed for the country during its annual Memorial Day Ceremony, May 28.
NSA Bahrain Commanding Officer, Capt. Colin Walsh spoke on the importance of the day.
“Freedom is not free,” he said. “We must not forget the sacrifices that these brave young men and women have made and continue to make and the suffering they still endure for us and our way of life.
Deputy Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5, Col. Bern Altman, was the ceremony’s guest speaker. He said speaking at the event reminded him of a speech he made to his Marines after a motivational walk around the hills of Camp Pendleton.
“We talked about paying tribute to the efforts of generations of Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country and that our brief suffering that morning was in recognition and honor of those individuals,” he said. “That while shortly when we were cleaned up and enjoying some time off, there were still many others deployed around the globe who would not have that luxury and that over the weekend there may, unfortunately, be more names added to that long list of those we remember on Memorial Day.”
In observance of the sacrifices made by their own, a member from each branch of service placed the five service covers and a civilian cap on each empty plate at the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action table.
A flag detail comprised of Sailors and a Coast Guardsman from the NSA Bahrain 1st Class Petty Officer Association and Southwest Asia EchoSix Association then performed a flag ceremony, folding the flag 13 times. As the honor guard folded the flag, the master of ceremonies read the meaning of each fold.
Walsh and Altman closed out the ceremony by laying a ceremonial wreath in honor of fallen service members.
NSA Bahrain Military Working Dog Kennel Leading Petty Officer, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Shane Siewert, said it was a pleasure to be a part of the honor guard.
“It’s nice to be a part of the Navy traditions and ceremonies to honor our past service members who have gone before us,” he said. “It’s important for every service member to reflect on the past trials and tribulations that all branches have gone through before to establish what the military has become today.”