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Joint ceremony honors Turkey’s modern founder

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Filler, 39th Air Base Wing vice commander, and member of the Incirlik Air Base Honor Guard lay a wreath during a joint ceremony commemerating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik AB, Turkey.

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Filler, 39th Air Base Wing vice commander, and members of the Incirlik Air Base Honor Guard lay a wreath during a joint ceremony commemerating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik AB, Turkey. Ataturk, the first president of the modern Republic of Turkey, set up schools, separated religious affairs from state affairs and granted women equal rights as men. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy)

An Incirlik Air Base Honor Guard member salutes during an annual Ataturk Day Memorial service held in front of the 10th Tanker Commander Headquarters building at Incirlik AB, Turkey, Nov. 10, 2018.

An Incirlik Air Base Honor Guard member salutes during an annual Ataturk Day Memorial service held in front of the 10th Tanker Commander Headquarters building at Incirlik AB, Turkey, Nov. 10, 2018. This year marks the 80th anniversary of Ataturk’s death. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy)

U.S. Air Force, Turkish Air Force and Spanish Army service members render salutes to a memorial of Ataturk during the Ataturk Memorial Day ceremony, Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

U.S. Air Force, Turkish Air Force and Spanish Army service members render salutes to a memorial of Ataturk during the Ataturk Memorial Day ceremony, Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. During the ceremony, personnel saluted when the sirens played signifying the moment of Ataturk’s passing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy)

Military service members participated in a joint ceremony commemorating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

Military service members participated in a joint ceremony commemorating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The ceremony marked the 80th anniversary of Ataturk's death and began by laying wreaths as a show of respect. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Filler and 10th Tanker Base service members salute as they pass a statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during a memorial ceremony, Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Filler and 10th Tanker Base service members salute as they pass a statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during a memorial ceremony, Nov. 10, 2018, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Mustafa Kemal was given the last name ‘Ataturk,’ which means ‘father of Turks,’ in recognition of his efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

On Nov. 10, U.S. service members stood alongside their NATO allies during an annual memorial service to pay tribute to the father of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

 

The ceremony, held at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, marked the 80th anniversary of Ataturk’s death and began by laying wreaths as a show of respect. Sirens then played at exactly 9:05 a.m. to memorialize the moment of his passing. The ceremony concluded with service members rendering honors to a monument of Ataturk.

 

“Ataturk Memorial Day commemorates the life and passing of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was the first President of Turkey, and a pivotal leader in world history. It was an honor for us to stand in solidarity with our NATO allies at an event that means so much,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Filler, 39th Air Base Wing vice commander. “We value the opportunity to take part in our host nation’s culture. Events like this help us enhance our teamwork and build on our partnership; we are truly stronger together.”

 

Ataturk, the founder and first president of modern day Turkey, served a 15-year presidency where he implemented the separation of church and state, established schools in every village and established equality between men and women.

 

“We love and respect Ataturk because he transferred Turkey and the Turks from Middle Ages to contemporary ages,” said Mehmet Birbiri, 39th Air Base Wing host nation advisor. “We miss him more and more every year.”