Memorial Day will never be the same for me again.
1Lt Schulte happened to be Jewish, and by an amazing coincidence – some would say Providence – the one Jewish chaplain in all of CENTCOM arrived at Bagram Air Field the morning of the 20th as part of a tour throughout the region. So he was there to participate in the ramp ceremony, where 1Lt Schulte and Mr Pine were slowly and formally loaded onto an aircraft for their final trip home.
And he was at Camp Eggers five days later, on Memorial Day. 1Lt Schulte and Mr Pine worked with the Afghan National Army as advisers, so scores of Afghan officers attended the ceremony. Like me, they heard a Jewish chaplain’s prayer in Hebrew, followed by a Muslim general’s eulogy in Dari.
Bottom line: At Camp Eggers last Memorial Day, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all wept together.
* Photo by Stephon M. Sterns.
** CSTC-A photo.