Dignity, Honor, Respect at Dover Air Force Base

President Barack Obama at Dover Air Force Base

President Barack Obama, in the process of saluting, participates in a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del., Aug. 9, 2011, for the dignified transfer of U.S. and Afghan personnel who died in Afghanistan on Aug. 6. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

When this White House photo was taken on Aug. 9, I was in Dover, Del., working with USO staff and volunteers to support families of our fallen heroes. It was the most unforgettable experience of my life.

In adherence with Department of Defense policy and out of respect for the loved ones and fellow troops of those killed in Afghanistan, I cannot write about what I witnessed during this day of great sadness for our country. All I can say is that the motto for Dover Air Force Base’s Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary AffairsDignity, Honor, Respect — describes exactly how our fallen heroes and their families are being treated.

This week and for years to come, the families of the 30 valiant Americans and seven Afghans killed in the tragic Aug. 6 helicopter crash in Wardak province, Afghanistan, will be in our hearts. Because of their sacrifices, we are free. — Tom Sileo, USO Director of Story Development