CARTHAGE, Tunisia – The commander and senior enlisted officer of U.S. Africa Command laid a wreath in Tunisia May 30 to honor the 6,565 U.S. service members who were laid to rest or listed as missing in action at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial.
The majority lost their lives during World War II military activities in North Africa that ultimately culminated in Tunisia’s liberation in 1943.
General David Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Africa Command, said it was fitting as the senior U.S. military commander in Africa to be in Tunisia on Memorial Day stating he wanted to honor those young service-members who spent their final days on the African continent.
“As I near the end of my career as a solider, my visit to this cemetery and memorial is personally significant,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to be here as an old soldier and pay tribute to the young soldiers who died to defend values we hold dear.”
Several members of the Tunisian military, including their honor guard, attended and participated in the Memorial Day ceremony.
U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Daniel Rubinstein highlighted the symbolism of having both U.S. and Tunisian honor guards joined together during the ceremony “on this day of tribute because the story of the Campaign for Tunisia is just as much theirs as it is ours.”
The U.S. and Tunisia have shared a longstanding partnership focused on creating the conditions for security and stability within Tunisia and throughout the Maghreb.
Rodriguez reiterated the importance of this friendship during this critical time in history where transnational threats seek to endanger the safety and security of our Tunisian partners.
“We must continue to work together to address our common threats, and to face today’s challenges with the same ardor and conviction that our men and women brought to great challenges of the past,” he said.