US troops in Afghanistan marked Memorial Day with the words of a fallen comrade—one of at least 1,851 Americans to have died in the war. Marine Gen. John Allen, the leading US commander in Afghanistan, read a letter penned by Marine Sgt. William Stacey, killed by homemade explosives in January at age 23. The letter to Stacey's family reflected on his reasons for fighting in case he died.
"There will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home to come to his," Stacey wrote, according to the AP. "He will have the gift of freedom which I have enjoyed for so long myself, and if my life brings the safety of a child who will one day change the world, then I know that it was all worth it." Stacey's words "speak resoundingly and timelessly for our fallen brothers and sisters in arms," said Allen, who laid a wreath under a memorial cross at NATO headquarters in Kabul.