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An honor guard soldier salutes during a Memorial Day ceremony outside U.S. Forces Korea headquarters at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020.
An honor guard soldier salutes during a Memorial Day ceremony outside U.S. Forces Korea headquarters at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. (Matthew Keeler/Stars and Stripes)
An honor guard soldier salutes during a Memorial Day ceremony outside U.S. Forces Korea headquarters at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020.
An honor guard soldier salutes during a Memorial Day ceremony outside U.S. Forces Korea headquarters at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. (Matthew Keeler/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Robert Abrams and Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud place a wreath at the United Nations Command Memorial during a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020.
U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Robert Abrams and Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud place a wreath at the United Nations Command Memorial during a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. (Matthew Keeler/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Forces Korea honors fallen troops with a 21-gun salute during a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020.
U.S. Forces Korea honors fallen troops with a 21-gun salute during a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. (Matthew Keeler/Stars and Stripes)
Wreaths and flags surround the United Nations Command Memorial during a Memorial Day service at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020.
Wreaths and flags surround the United Nations Command Memorial during a Memorial Day service at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. (Matthew Keeler/Stars and Stripes)
From left to right, U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Robert Abrams, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, USFK Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud and Veteran of Foreign Wars District 3 commander Donald Kelley observe a moment of silence during a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020.
From left to right, U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Robert Abrams, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, USFK Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud and Veteran of Foreign Wars District 3 commander Donald Kelley observe a moment of silence during a Memorial Day ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. (Matthew Keeler/Stars and Stripes)

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CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — The commander of U.S. Forces Korea called on his troops to “take pride in our service and our dedication to duty” during a Memorial Day service near command headquarters that was livestreamed on social media.

Gen. Robert Abrams, who also leads the United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command on the peninsula, also laid wreaths at the U.N. Command Memorial in honor of those killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

The ceremony was attended by roughly 25 guests — including U.S. ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris and Veterans of Foreign Wars District 3 commander Donald Kelley — who practiced social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was not formally announced beforehand.

Abrams invoked the U.S.-South Korea bond during his address.

“Here in Korea we are no stranger to that shared sacrifice. Over 54,000 Americans have given their lives for the cause of freedom in support of the Republic of Korea,” he said. “They faced difficult circumstances and demonstrated incredible bravery and determination seemingly against all odds.”

Memorial Day began after the American Civil War as Decoration Day, Abrams said as he paid homage to those who perished on the Korean peninsula.

“Today we collectively remember and honor our fallen heroes who have given their all to protect the freedoms that we hold dear,” he said. “We are reminded of what they fought and died for, the principles and beliefs that bind us as a nation.”

Abrams has led units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We will never forget our fallen friends and teammates, nor our amazing Gold Star families,” he said. “These heroes are our sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, and mothers and fathers.”

Harris and Kelley assisted Abrams and USFK Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud as they placed wreaths at the U.N. Command Memorial.

“We live free as a result of their sacrifice; let us earn that freedom every day,” Abrams said during his speech. “Let us take pride in our service and our dedication to duty, continue to act in service for the good of our nation, our allies and partners, and our world, for we do so in memory of those who have come before us. We carry the torch now and we honor their sacrifice today.”

keeler.matthew@stripes.com Twitter: @MattKeeler1231

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