Photographers' Blog

Those left behind: The legacy of Arlington’s Section 60

November 10, 2009

Larry Downing is a Reuters senior staff photographer assigned to the White House. He shares that duty with three other staff photographers. He has lived in Washington since 1977 and has been assigned to cover the White House, since 1978. President Barack Obama is the sixth president Larry has photographed.

“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”  George Orwell

Veteran’s Day is a time to remember “All gave some….Some gave all.”

Before reaching the new gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery’s ‘Section 60’ it’s easy to recognize why a simple, quilted, patch of green grass and white stones buried alongside the quiet banks of the Potomac River troubles the heart.

Names etched into fresh marble tell the sad tale of early death …Travis L. Youngblood…. Justin Ray Davis….Andy D. Anderson….Thomas J. Barbieri Jr….. Kenneth E. Zeigler II….James R. McIlvaine …. America’s varsity players benched early in the game.

‘Section 60’ is America’s promise to honor its warriors for first serving, and then dying, in the strange dusts on foreign soil.

Its 22211 zip code is the final address for roughly ten-percent of America’s dead from combat action in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 570 service members from “Operation Enduring Freedom” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” are “interred, inurned or memorialized with honor inside the cemetery.”

Spend time in the section and you can’t help but breathe the restless cloud of uneasiness that hangs over the calm symmetry of the graves. Your eyes lie; you actually “see” the pieces of shattered hearts and lost ambitions scattered across the manicured grounds.

You “feel” why this is America’s field of broken dreams.

Fathers, mothers, widows and children are all lost as they chase the ghost of vanished love inside the shadows of a sinister fog.

Watch an abandoned friend or family member alone in anguish softly whispering to the dead and you’ll realize the devil deals mean cards.

Cards that have forced a grieving mother to stare at the letters of her baby’s name chiseled onto a gravestone not long after those same letters were neatly printed on a new birth certificate.

No woman deserves to lose her child in war and then tragically continue her life driving a car with the unwanted license plate reading “Gold Star Family.”

No wife should ask God “why” the only man who ever promised to protect her is gone.

And no child should ever cry out to mommy “where’s my daddy?”

An ‘Arlington’ funeral means a father will never experience the joy of giving his daughter’s hand away in marriage.

Television got it right when they called ‘Section 60’ “the saddest acre in America.”

Robert E. Drawl Jr…… Kevin D. Grieco…. Charles E. Wyckoff… Michael Ross Stahlman….

Death is the greatest equalizer; only after a funeral does the phrase: “…all men are created equal” written in the nation’s ‘Declaration of Independence’ take life.

Generals lie buried the same depth underground as the men and women they commanded in life.

Black, white, brown, or yellow skins are equal. There is no racial prejudice after death.

Republicans and Democrats agree…In silence.

Gays are finally treated with respect. No one asks…no one tells…

Passages recited from the Koran are as beautiful as those recited from the Bible.

The impact of two distant wars became personal once the “knocks on the door” delivered the horrifying news and haunted a house forever. Prayers that the Pentagon “got it wrong” vanished when asked if they wanted an ‘Arlington’ funeral.

‘Arlington’ is an idyllic hillside cemetery and is easily seen while driving on the Arlington Memorial Bridge towards Virginia. It’s the last stop straight ahead.

It’s also the last stop for those sons and daughters who were killed after announcing to their family they wanted to be “Army Strong” or part of “The Few…The Proud” and then fearlessly joined the deadliest profession.

They volunteered; even while never reading the frightening draft notice of their father’s generation. One sent on behalf of the President of the United States during the Vietnam War beginning with the terrifying, “Greeting….You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States….”

Both the draft and that war ended in the 1970’s.

The names of 58,261 brave Americans are etched into the “wall” inside the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the other end of that same bridge.

About the time energetic eighteen year-old college freshmen are searching for an “awesome” campus tailgate party, America’s young soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are finishing their individual combat specialty schools and boarding the express bus to the front lines. Thoughts of joining sororities and fraternities are long gone. Learning the dangers of the “kill radius” of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and recognizing the “signs and symptoms of hypovolemic shock” are more important. A severed femoral artery is quick to kill in the field.

Today’s military volunteer swears to an oath to do “whatever it takes” to hold the protective umbrella over the nation during the storms in violent times.

Doubts of joining the military were erased after witnessing an attack on their nation September 11, 2001.

Things became clear for them in the dawn’s morning light.

‘Section 60’ is one of approximately 70 sections inside the 624 fenced acres of ‘Arlington’ where more than 320,000 heros are honored. The first military burial took place in 1864 during the American Civil War when the cemetery opened.

The U.S. Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) maintains a sentry inside the cemetery on duty every second of every day.

The ceremonial guards from each branch of service provide military honors during the somber burial of one of their own.

Temporary paper markers are placed in the dirt above the grave after a funeral while waiting for the permanent marble stones.

Ryan Patrick Baumann….Eric W. Hall….Colby J. Umbrell….James C. Edge….

A triangular folded American flag is all that remains to hold for the devastated family members during a funeral in ‘Section 60.’

“Gold Star” mother Lyvonne Lightfoot hugs the flag that draped her 20 year-old son’s casket on August 4, 2009. Anthony M. Lightfoot died in Afghanistan, July 2009, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Rebecca Baldeosingh holds the flag from her husband’s casket at his funeral on August 4, 2009, after he was killed last June in Iraq.

The Iraq war made Laura Youngblood an early widow in 2005 while pregnant with her second child. Husband Travis Youngblood was a U.S. Navy medic who died from wounds suffered from an IED during combat operations with the U.S. Marines in Hit, Iraq.

She visited her husband in May 2009 during the Memorial Day weekend.

After touching his gravestone, she stood up, gently kissed the top of the marble and said, “See you tomorrow, honey.” And then left….

“Gold Star” mother Paula Davis thought she was an “Army of One” when raising her only child, Justin, alone for eighteen years before turning him over to the U.S. Army. He had just graduated from high school weeks earlier and he had no fear of serving in wartime.

Justin was spirited and was strong. “A million dollar smile,” Mrs. Davis proudly boasts. Proof is seen in a large photograph moments after entering her home in Maryland. “He wanted to be in Kung Fu movies…the next Jet Li.”

And he loved the idea of joining the Army so much that the night before he reported for his first day of duty he made his mother stay up with him and watch two war movies, “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Black Hawk Down.”

Hours later they drove to the U.S. Army recruiting office. Mrs. Davis was now alone for the first time in nearly two decades. “I drove a few blocks down the street, stopped, and just cried….”

One year later she cried again…only harder. Justin was finally coming home from the war and “did she want him buried at Arlington?”

The entire time he was gone she thought “Afghanistan was a safer war,” she said.

For two months after his funeral Mrs. Davis slept inside his bed; “I still go and sit on his bed for comfort.”

Justin’s room is exactly as it was the day he joined the army in 2005. The four cardboard boxes containing his belongings from Afghanistan are still unopened on the floor of his room.

Justin’s first pair of baby’s shoes hangs from the door knob to the room.

Mrs. Davis drives to ‘Section 60’ after church every Sunday, “rain or shine,” to honor him. “If I don’t, who will?” “This is our Vietnam Memorial,” she said.

She then explained, “The burden of two wars falls on a select few….Most Americans are not asked to sacrifice. Our leaders should find every means possible to not go to war…”

Justin died shortly after turning 19 years-old. “He would have been a great father…..now I’ll miss that,” said Mrs. Davis.

Mrs. Davis and “Gold Star” mother Xiomara Mena (Anderson) are best friends now after meeting in ‘Section 60.’ Their boys are buried within steps of each other. Mrs. Anderson is also a “Blue Star” mother; she has two other children serving in combat overseas.

Mrs. Anderson patiently uses her household scissors to trim the grass around the gravestone of her son, Andy D. Anderson, who died in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in June 2006. “Arlington takes good care of my son…” she said, “but I like to keep him neat.”

Mrs. Anderson’s motherly instinct is still alive after three years since Andy’s funeral. Watching her carefully clip the grass around her son’s grave seems as natural as watching a loving mother making up her son’s bed in the morning.

“Gold Star” mother Vicki Zeigler deserves her own medal for the unwavering devotion to her son, Kenneth E. Zeigler II; driving EVERY weekend to visit ‘Arlington’ from Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. Kenneth died while serving with the U.S. Army in Baghdad, Iraq, in May 2005.

Mrs. Zeigler arrives early and unfolds a beach chair before spending the entire day serenely staring at the name of her baby boy while recalling the day he was born after “6 hours of hard labor” in 1983.

Kenneth loved “God, mom, family, ‘Metallica’ and the New York Yankees…and in that order,” says Mrs. Zeigler.

“He was a momma’s boy until the end,” she proudly said. As he was lying on the ground and fighting for his life while wounded his sergeant leaned down and whispered “we’ll take care of mom,” she explained. Kenneth then relaxed and slipped away after knowing his mom was in strong hands.

Mrs. Zeigler drives in a car devoted to the memory of her hero.

All three women expressed concerns for American’s who have loved ones in harm’s way and may be forced in the future to sit in the “green chairs” for family members during an ‘Arlington’ funeral.

Theodore Uland Church….Garrett T. Lawton….Darryl Demetrial Booker…. Deforest Lee Talbert…

Photojournalists assigned to military funerals are tough and rarely flinch. Cameras make great wallsto hide behind when emotions become powerful. Tears have always dripped down from behind mine during an “Arlington’ funeral.

Watching a sobbing widow hug a cold casket for the last time is unnerving.

Rebecca Baldeosingh and her daughters attended the funeral of her husband and their father, Juan C. Baldeosingh, who was killed last June in Iraq. He was buried in Section 60 with honor on August 4, 2009.

The most horrifying funeral I’ve attended was by accident at the end of the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 along the Iraq-Kuwait border. It still haunts me today.

Photojournalist Mike Nelson and I stumbled upon an eerie scene in the desert that belonged in “The Twilight Zone.”

Over 100 Iraqi soldiers were fleeing north from Kuwait at the end of the war when allied warplanes launched rockets stopping the head of the snaking convoy.

The attacking aircraft then dropped exploding gas bombs high over the remaining vehicles in the convoy. The explosion created huge clouds of fire above the troops and burned all the breathable oxygen without scorching anyone below.

In short, the explosion sucked the air out of the lungs of every man.

Each corpse looked alive as we approached and they were still holding their rifles while seated inside their vehicles.

The memory of that sharp, biting, warm stench of death remains with my lungs today.

The British army arrived and carved a mass grave using bulldozers. Soldiers respectfully dragged the scores of dead bodies across the warm sands to their final grave before prayers were offered over the fallen.

Nearly 19 years have passed since that day and Iraqi mothers are still wondering where their sons are buried.

The Americans stationed inside the secure air base in Da Nang during the Vietnam War were easy targets for the Viet Cong who were hiding in the surrounding mountains east of the base. The VC used seven-foot long, deadly 122mm Russian-made rockets launched inaccurately from bamboo bipods to terrorize the troops below.

Chalk was used to tally “the count” on a wall inside the perimeter and over 650 rockets were launched from those mountains between September 1972 and September 1973.

A lethal game of Russian roulette played against the grim reaper during the year of living dangerously.

“If you heard a rocket explode or heard the siren, you had one goal…grab your helmet, flak jacket and haul ass to the nearest sandbag bunker scattered around our compound,” said a friend of mine, a U.S. Air Force security policeman who survived that year.

During one night’s rocket attack that same airman raced into the thick, wet muck in the “binjo ditch” that was used to drain latrine water away from the barracks. Both of his feet slide in different directions when they hit the sewage and then stopped abruptly. His forward motion continued and both ankles were brutally twisted as he fell hard. The memories of the “pop and a blinding pain” around his ankles are linked with the intense fear of dying during that rocket attack.

The injuries were so severe that at “20 years old, I would never be able to run,jump or even walk normally for the rest of my life,” he writes in an email. “They would’ve healed if they both broke,” said the doctors.

September 1973 arrived and he hobbled aboard the “freedom bird” leaving Da Nang. Vietnam and the war were now in his rear view mirror…or so he thought.

In the years before he arrived “in country” the air base had supported “Operation Ranch Hand;” an Air Force program involving the spraying of millions of gallons of a harsh herbicide “Agent Orange” over the jungles of Southeast Asia. The deadly chemical was used to kill the thick vegetation hiding the enemy. “Agent Orange” was sprayed over the rivers, fields, and jungles of Vietnam altering the normal life cycle of all living plants, animals and humans on the ground.

Air Force Security Policemen patrolled the areas on the base where splashed “Agent Orange” had dripped onto the ground leaving a contaminated residue. My friend spent a year kicking up and inhaling that dust.

36 years have passed since he left Vietnam and he will never be able to enjoy the simple, pleasurable, act of walking a dog.

The permanent damage to his ankles combined with the exposure to “Agent Orange” leaves him 100% disabled.

His days begin, then end, sitting in a motorized wheelchair. It’s a painful “hell;” his crippling souvenir for bravely volunteering for a year in Vietnam.

“There were dark, dark periods of unmentionable anger, fear, even desperation a time or two,” he said. He admits he is now “a controlled drug addict” relying on powerful prescription drugs to ease the sharp pain he wakes up to each morning.

He was my hero when we were Air Force Security Policemen stationed together on an island in the Mediterranean and he is my super-hero today.  (I’ve omitted his name at his request).

Jeremy A. Chandler….Deveran L. Owen….Adam Leigh Cann…. Steven R. Koch….

Combat veterans find the search for “closure” a lonely battle after losing a friend in war.

Veterans’ motorcycle club “Patriots Pride” rode from Charleston, West Virginia, to visit the grave of soldier DeForest Lee Talbert who is buried at ‘Arlington.’ Each rider served in combat with Talbert before he died in July 2004.

Talbot’s son, Deontae James Hamlet, stands proudly with the men who knew his father.

Susan Blankenship traveled to ‘Arlington’ to “rub” the gravestone of Steven A. Davis for her son who served with Davis in Iraq. Mrs. Blankenship’s son could not make the trip to ‘Arlington’ but he wanted the rubbing for “closure.” Davis died in 2007.

“Gold Star” mother Carolann Barbieri sits alone as she writes a private letter to her son on July 4, 2009. Barbieri died in 2006 while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Visitors to ‘Section 60’ leave small stones or personalized mementos on top of a grave to honor those buried below. Some are unique but most follow the simple Jewish tradition of leaving a single pebble per visit on the gravestone of a loved one.

Veteran’s Day is celebrated on November 11th in the United States.

It’s a national day of honor recognizing veterans for “throwing their hat in the ring” to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves.

Look for a veteran in November and buy him a cup of coffee, or a sandwich, and give thanks for their service.

Travel to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. and volunteer to help the “wounded warriors” who are fighting for their dignity with less than whole bodies.

U.S. Army Sgt. Joey Bozik (L) talks to Vietnam veteran Army Col. Oliver Mahatha Sr. (R) in the physical therapy room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2005. Bozik lost two legs and one arm from an explosion in Iraq.

Wounded Army Sgt. John Daniel Shannon wears the Purple Heart with pride on his eye patch while testifying before Congress in 2007.

Or, walk the extra mile to ‘Section 60’ inside ‘Arlington’ and place a small pebble on the grave of an American hero….It’s their day.

U.S. Marine SSgt. William C. Rapier, of Quantico, Virginia, shows his son around Arlington National Cemetery in 2006.

Greg Lamonte Sutton…. Jamie D. Wilson…. Charles E. Wyckoff… Philip Andrew Johnson Jr…..

Comments
90 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

What words spoken or printed could possibly ease the losses to these dear families? I would bet none.Days of rememberance and thanks are few except for those who have suffered the personal loss. Let us take this moment to simply thank those remembered and those left behind to carry on.THANK YOU.We can go back tomorrow to enjoy another day of political bickering.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive
 

Wow…..thank you.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive
 

Tina, My heart goes out to you!I agree with all, that this is a Beautiful tribute to all Veterans! My husband served in VietNam…he passed away in 2007 and I still cry so hard…I cried so hard today especially…so proud of the way he protected his fellow man…the cause of death was not directly related, so they say…but the stress that he dealt with all those years, I find it hard to believe that it was not!Tina……fight…fight….fight…there has to be some help out there for you!I know easy to say…the Government is not there for their Vets!!!!!….use them and cast them aside…I went through some issues and I could go on forever…and trying not to, but it is not easy!Why do we pay out billions for people to come in our country….give them cars…houses…food…and they refuse to fly our flag or speak English?!…and they have never served one day protecting our country…I do not understand!I vote that every alien that comes in, should serve in the military for 4 years…and also the thousands of prisoners that we are paying the upkeep for…with descrection of the type of crime…..might keep crime down somewhat with that type of penalty…:)Tina…again…my prayers are with you and your family!I am so proud of Your Husband!!! and of you!!!Give him a Big Hug from me and the Nation!…tell him just because he is not getting the support from the Government…the Nation is supporting him and that is the “people”!…We are Very Proud! :)

Posted by Louise | Report as abusive
 

As I shed my tears.I say thank you Reuters for a most eloquent and moving testimony.I served but the Lord spared me. A beautiful tribute!

 

Sir-Thank you for capturing such powerful images and sharing them with the world.Your story and photos really made me stop and think of how fortunate I am for all of the men and women who have served our country when our country needed them the most.I hope that our nation will continue to pray for those who are serving right now, deployed around the world and for the family and friends they left behind.May we never, ever forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, those who are recovering from injuries they received and those who have served and continue to serve.Thank you for your service and may God bless you and keep you safe.

Posted by ENS H.N.G., USN | Report as abusive
 

Is there any need to fight wars in different countries? ask any sane person, all will say”FIRST PROTECT YOUR OWN COUNTRY BORDERS AND AIRSPACE.” that’s itWhy going to other countries and spreading democracy their. Just mind ur own business and defend your own borders and drill oil from Alaska for which thousands of Americans have died and still dying.Americans are not the bravest BUT the cowards who don’t who know how to kill innocent women and children by dropping bombs from the sky starting from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Iraq… But one day somebody will teach America a lesson which it will NEVERRRR forget.

Posted by Abraham | Report as abusive
 

Amazing tribute to our veterans.While we remember and honor all those who put their lives at stake, so that we can sleep soundly, let us not forgot the thousands of “nameless” civilians, whose only fault was being present at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive
 

I just made my 3 children, two boys 16 and 14, and my eleven year old daughter put down their ipods, video games, etc. and come into my home office and stand around my computer while I read this beautiful article out loud to them and showed them the pictures. My sons’ idea of war is playing “Call of Duty” on their Xbox and watching war movies on TV. They have no clue. They complained about having to sit through my read of this article but I do hope they got something out of it. I cried early this morning when I first read this before going to work and I barely made it through this read again tonight with them. Thank you Reuters and the author of this piece for a beautiful tribute.

Posted by Ann Bowlby Galindo | Report as abusive
 

A fine, moving example of proof that freedom is NOT free, it comes with a great and powerful commitment and cost. To all those who serve, and have served, thank you. To the families and loved ones of those who have paid the ultimate price, I have been there and know you’re pain. I will keep you in my prayers.

Posted by Gentlehawk | Report as abusive
 

Wow! What an emotional ride you have taken me on. I want to thank those brave heroes of our military’s past and present. I want to wish blessings on those who fought, those who are fighting, and those that will fight for this great country, sacrificing for this great land. I also wish special blessings on the families of these brave men and women. They too sacrifice for this great land. May God Bless you all and may God Bless the United States of America.

Posted by Dale Lindley | Report as abusive
 

Wonderful touching article and photos that show how considerate and thoughtful you are and have always been since I’ve known you. darryl

Posted by darryl heikes | Report as abusive
 

Thoughtful and touching and it shows the kind of person you have always been. darryl

Posted by darryl heikes | Report as abusive
 

Very emotional; I defy any true American to go through this program and not shed a tear. I have served in Korea (’51-’52) and Vietnam. We have to honor and love those who now volunteer to serve this country and to give that last measure of devotion to ensure we are safe. God bless those who have served and given, and give strength to those who were left behind.

Posted by Maj James Murphy USMC (Ret) | Report as abusive
 

What a fitting tribute to our brave young men and women who gave their lives so that we can enjoy FREEDOM.This was very emotional for me, my prayers and thoughts will ALWAYS be with those families.GOD BLESS THEM ALL, AND GOD BLESS AMERICA …………..

Posted by LINDA M. CAMMACK | Report as abusive
 

Although, a Canuck, I shed tears over the lost lives and potential of each person and for the families of those buried in unknown places as well as in Arlington. War is hell, a necessary evil. To our brothers in the US, I say fight until the battle is done. To the families, “you are the backbone of this battle, stay strong”. Bless all of you.

Posted by ravenwing | Report as abusive
 

Powerful and dignified tribute in words and images to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. Thank you for sharing this with me and the world. You’ve always been a tremendous inspiration, wonderful colleague and I’m proud to count you as a friend. Thank you!

Posted by Gregg Newton | Report as abusive
 

Dear Larry,Excellent!Your dedication to photojournalism and professionalism remind all of us why we are in the business of visual storytelling.Thank you for sharing your work done beyond your call of duty. With much admiration and respect.Hyungwon

Posted by Hyungwon Kang | Report as abusive
 

Thank you America for my freedom. Twenty years ago you rescued me from the Communist prison. Forty years fighting and dying for me best thy sons. Everywhere where the evil of communism sought path. Finally, the evil empire collapsed. Because this American soldier never gave up. Even in Korea or Vietnam or the Cold War. Never forget. With profound respect. Miroslav Vaclavek, Czech republic, Europe

 

Very moving. Arlington is a special place. I have been to Section 60 several times. It’s heart renching. I have visited there with family members of the fallen. That is really hard. You just don’t know what to say. I do know what to say today. Always remember these brave men and women and their families. Freedom is not free. God Bless you all!

Posted by Dennis Ulmer | Report as abusive
 

What a moving tribute to those who have served and died protecting our freedom. I had to pause as the tears flowed and regain my composure to finish reading the captions for all the pictures. Thank you to all Veterans each of whom have given their best to keep our country the “Land of the Free” because of their bravery and dedication.

Posted by RSiverd | Report as abusive
 

As a retired AF orthopaedic surgeon formerly deployed to Balad, Iraq, the AF’s largest theater hospital since Viet Nam, I was moved and touched by your documentary and pictorial message. I hope we never forget.

Posted by John V. Ingari | Report as abusive
 

Hello. This is a moving article and a wonderful tribute. The photos and the stories are true to life. Thank you for sharing.

 

Larry,I found this very emotional! Thank you for your continued dedication and hard work. Your superb photographic skill accurately documents the price our service members are prepared to pay on our behalf.Again, thank you! It was my pleasure to serve with you.Ed Cole

Posted by Edward Cole | Report as abusive
 

Thank you for sharing these stories with us a very moving article…I am a proud military wife and I give thanks everyday for what our soldiers risk for our freedom…I will keep you all in my prayers

Posted by Marisa | Report as abusive
 

Well done, Dog! Your photos always inspire me.

Posted by Yan Zhang | Report as abusive
 

I served with the 5th RCT in Korea from August 1950-January 1951. I will shortly in February 2010, be 78 years old and you brought tears to my eyes and a long absent pain to my heart to view these pictures that were thoughtfully sent to me by my brother.

 

This is a truly moving tribute to our young men and women who gave their all for those of us left behind. As an orthopaedic surgeon who cared for Vietnam wounded in Japan and now participate in the care of our wounded warriors from the Middle East, I see at first hand the horrific sacrifices these young people make and I cry for them and for their loved ones.

Posted by George Bogumill | Report as abusive
 

Here at the computer with 2 of my three Iraqi veterans asleep in the house and the other with his family in Tallahassee, I as a Navy Vietnam-era retiree feel fortunate to not have had to endure the pain of any Section 60 visits. However, the days and nights of worry and the tears shed waiting through those family times when they were “over there” was pain enough for me. I salute these fallen heroes and their families for one of mine might have to return to the conflict. May God strengthen you and me to endure.

Posted by Darryl Stewart | Report as abusive
 

Great photos. Moving.

Posted by KevinApper | Report as abusive
 

Larry, wonderful piece on an incredibly hard subject matter. Thank you so much for taking the time to putting words to your images. Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Posted by PabloMM | Report as abusive
 

Our son is in Section 60. Lance Corp. Patrick Ryan Adle. We lost Patrick 6/29/04 in Irag by an IED. We miss him evert day. We can only thank the men and women of Arlington for taking care of our loved ones. It is an honor for our son and our family to have Patrick buried in Arlington. We miss him everyday.

His mother: Pamela Adle-Watts
His step-father: J. Michael Watts

Posted by LukeBear | Report as abusive
 

Larry:

What a powerful and moving tribute to those who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice.

And what testimony to your skill as a storyteller!

You always have been a true professional… able to evoke the deepest of emotions, through your work.

You remind us, vividly, of the cost of freedom.

Amazing gift you have. I’m glad and proud to call you a friend.

Art Insana

Posted by WritemanNJ | Report as abusive
 

My brother, Sgt. Nickolas Mueller, was buried in Section 60 after being killed in Afganistan on Oct. 26, 2009. Having my brother buried in Arlington was very humbling. He and his brothers and sisters that laid their lives down during this war and every other war are truly heros. Knowing that so many people will walk by my brother everyday makes me feel a little bit better about my brother being so far away from home.
God bless the men and women in arms who serve this county every day, and keep us free. And God Bless those men and women who have served.
Nick, we miss you and think of you every day.

NSDQ

Posted by johnmueller | Report as abusive
 

I was 35 minutes late to a dinner party tonight. I’m usually horribly anxious if I’m not on schedule, but this is one time that I didn’t feel the slightest twinge of anxiety. I was riveted motionless by your work. You and Angelica have truly captured the pride and the devastating sadness that war brings. Your work is beautiful and haunting. Deeply moving, Larry.

Rose

Posted by Rose321 | Report as abusive
 

Being the son of a decorated Navy pilot, father of a Marine and a Army Veteran, I can only say thank you for showing the realistic, yet personal side if war. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved one’s and my chest swells with pride for those brave men and women who serve our country past and present.

DML

Posted by DML | Report as abusive
 

Our son SGT Nickolas A. Mueller now rest in section 60. Nick and nine others died when their helicopter crashed in Afganistan, October 26th, 2009. GOD BLESS THEM ALL!
We pray for and support our military every day. Without them over there, they would be over here.
A Poem written by Jean Pomeroy that I enjoy very much…

Always
Think of me and I am with you,
Living in a different way,
Never really gone completely,
Close in spirit day by day.

Touch me in your deepest memory,
Know that I am always there.
In your heart you’ll find me waiting,
Speak to me in gentle prayer.

Watch for at every sunrise,
See me in the star-lit sky.
Feel my love, it’s with you always.
Love eternal, you and I.

Nick, We Love you, We Miss you. GOD

Posted by ndsq | Report as abusive
 

GOD BLESS YOU NICK,
NSDQ…
LOVE, Mom and Dad

Posted by ndsq | Report as abusive
 

Its nice to know my dad has such good company; sad but good.

Posted by USAF-SAC | Report as abusive
 

I visited Arlington on 11 September 2010 just before the USNA/Georgia Southern game. Really hot day, beautiful sunshine. As I walked around Arlington, I was struck by the beauty of it but it’s hard to get the reason for its existence out of one’s head…

… this story brings it all back. It’s really tough to type comments with a lump in one’s throat and cloudy vision. I’m Canadian but revere Arlington with a passion to rival most Americans.

Posted by GoMiddies | Report as abusive
 

Now they have taken away the right of family members to leave a special token at the grave site of a loved one.

How sad.

Posted by 300 | Report as abusive
 

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