by: Kevin McCarty Updated:JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. —
A somber ceremony in steady pouring rain marked Memorial Day at Joint Base Lewis McChord as the commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division praised the men and women who fought and died during more than a decade of war in the Middle East.
Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza compared those soldiers to the soldiers of World War II, often called “the greatest generation.”
“As I reflect back on the last 10 years, we have the next greatest generation,” Lanza said. “Most of them joined during a time of conflict that they knew they were going to war.”
Lanza laid a wreath at JBLM’s own tomb of the unknown soldier in the old Post Cemetery. Afterward, cannons sounded a 21-gun salute.
Lanza said as the war in Afghanistan draws to a close over the next year, soldiers at JBLM will shift focus from the Middle East to Asia and potential threats and conflicts.
“One of the things we’ll do here at Joint Base Lewis McChord and the 7th Infantry is that we’ll start rebalancing toward the Pacific, our next set of missions there,” Lanza said. “So we’ve already started our training, we’ve already started our focus to future missions in the Pacific.”