DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Today is Memorial Day, the day we remember the men and women who've died while serving in the Armed Forces. In Kabul, Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander, General John Allen, laid a wreath at a garden across from his headquarters. And he read a letter written by Marine Sergeant William Stacey to his parents in Seattle.
GENERAL JOHN ALLEN: (Reading) There will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home to come to his. And this child will learn in new schools that have been built. And he will walk his streets not worried about whether or not some leader's henchmen will come and kidnap him. And he will grow into a fine man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. And he will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed so long myself. And if my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change the world, then I know that it was all worth it.
GREENE: The author of that letter, Sergeant Stacey, was 23 when he was killed in January by a roadside bomb. He was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. Stacey was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The number of American dead from the 11-year-old Afghan war is approaching 2,000.
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GREENE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.