ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — The 48th Fighter Wing Honor Guard traveled more than 400 miles to participate in a memorial ceremony honoring fallen heroes May 25 at the Scottish-American War Memorial in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The British Army's Royal Scots Dragoon Guards worked side-by-side with the Honor Guard to present the colors as part of the event honoring fallen service members from World War I.
"This ceremony cements the relationship between the two countries," said Norma Dye, event attendee. "In this world of hustle and bustle, having this time to reflect was very emotional and very moving."
The event included the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards escorting the 48th FW Honor Guard to the memorial, where they presented the colors. Additionally, a speech about the Scottish forces fighting alongside their American counterparts in World War I was given by a Scottish clergyman. Scottish civic leaders then laid wreathes at the base of the memorial while the Scots Guards played the bagpipes. To bring the ceremony to a close, a British military band played the British and American national anthems.
"It was truly an honor to be part of the ceremony," said Airman 1st Class Jessica Coburn, 48th Fighter Wing Honor Guard member. "The fact that people still come together to remember the fallen is truly amazing to me."
The Honor Guard has made the long trek to Edinburgh for more than eight years to participate in the ceremony.
"It was exciting to do a ceremony with another country's armed forces," said Coburn, who participated in this event for the first time. "What struck me the most was the Scottish people knew the words to our national anthem and sung along, it made me feel proud."
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards hosted the Honor Guard for two nights in historic Edinburgh Castle. The U.S. military members had the distinct honor of staying in the more than 200 'year' old castle barracks, where the Scots Guards are currently housed. They experienced the way of regimental life inside the castle walls. The honor of staying in the castle is only extended to military organizations.
"It's a once-in-life-time experience -- not too many people can say they slept in Edinburgh Castle," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Ackerman, 48th FW Honor Guard member.
Not only was it a breathtaking experience for the Honor Guard, but it was a great opportunity for both nations' warriors to work together and honor their fallen heroes.