I spent this Memorial Day weekend as a volunteer photographer for a camp held in a hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Five hundred children and their families attended. Add in the five hundred mentors paired with the children, add in the volunteers and staff, and there were over 2200 people participating in this camp.
There were so many smiling faces
and lots of malarky.
In fact, sometimes, when I could clear my mind and just watch and listen, I could almost forget that all of these kids...
these seemingly happy, silly kids...
had lost a servicemember parent or sibling.
one of the kids.
On Sunday morning, the kids wrote letters to their lost parents, and attached them to balloons.
and then released them. Each balloon represents a fallen servicemember. There were so many balloons. Too many.
General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came to visit.
And we spent Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery
|I can imagine few things more heartbreaking than witnessing a mother cleaning off her child's headstone. This should NEVER happen.|
This is the price of freedom.
The heroes I photographed this weekend were remembering the love, celebrating life, and sharing the journey. The organization that made it possible is called TAPS. I promise never to solicit you again, but if you can donate your time or talent or funds to them, please do. They make it possible for these survivors to be among a new family -- an unwillingly huge family who understands them in a way that we simply can't, and in a way I hope that we will never have to.