The observance honored all NATO coalition service members who have died since the war began in 2001.
Marine Gen. John Allen said of Sgt. William Stacey, "Today we remember his life and his words, for they speak resoundingly and timelessly for our fallen brothers and sisters in arms," U.S. Navy SEALs Blog & Information reported.
Stacey, of Redding, Calif., was killed by a homemade bomb in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, on Jan. 30. He was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan, the blog said. In his letter, Stacey said part of the reason he was in Afghanistan was to protect children and provide them "the opportunity to go to school and live out their dreams."
Stacey wrote about "the gift of freedom."
"There will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home to come to his. … 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 wrote
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