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Commemoration in Camp Slim Lines

Szöveg: Fourth rotation of the HDF KFOR contingent |  2011. június 15. 10:41

On May 17, 2011 in the morning hours, two troops were killed in a road accident in Afghanistan. The news came as a bolt from the blue, the personnel in the camp were standing in a state of shock. Then they started making calls to Hungary and abroad, hoping that the fallen soldiers were not their friends or acquaintances. As it turned out, unfortunately we could not “breathe a sigh of relief”, because Hungarian troops were involved in the accident.

We lowered the Hungarian Tricolor to half-mast with military honors in the late afternoon hours. Headed by the battalion Commanding Officer, the Portuguese troops serving together with us lined up next to us to commemorate our comrades who had lost their lives in Afghanistan.

These two soldiers were not just two “names" in the news – their tragedy means much more than that, being a personal matter to us. Had they served at some other home station in Hungary, perhaps it would be easier for us to come to terms with their loss. We all felt that the commemoration cannot end in this way, because the fallen heroes were not only comrades but also friends of most of the personnel of the Hungarian KFOR-4 contingent.

On May 22 in the afternoon hours, we attended a requiem Mass to commemorate our fallen buddies. In that evening, in front of the Hungarian Tricolor flying on half-mast, we set up a board with the photos of our two dead comrades on it. We bent down to light some candles at their photos, and as we turned around, we could see a multitude of troops lined up in silence without any commands or pre-arranged plan.

Capt. Zsolt Bolla expressed our thoughts in his commemorative speech. “Let us remember our soldiers who were killed in action, but do not forget our friends with whom we served together" – we found these words fitting to convey our thoughts, since the ones we have lost were not only our comrades and colleagues but also our friends with whom we shared our memories and past.
It is indescribable to see our seasoned buddies weep as memories come flooding back and everyone is overcome with emotions. Regardless of our positions and ranks, we went in an orderly way to light some candles and to pay tribute in front of the two framed photos. It was only there that many of us fully realized that our comrades have passed away and that we cannot change that fact.

At the end of the commemoration, we were unable to go to our quarters, as complete silence fell over us and the camp.
Through this article, we would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the two soldiers’ families.

(The personnel of the fourth rotation of the HDF KFOR contingent)