Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A weekend at camp

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. 

DSC_3408

There were so many smiling faces

DSC_2801


DSC_3272

and lots of malarky.

DSC_2870

DSC_3027

DSC_2955

DSC_2933

DSC_2938

DSC_3074


DSC_3173

In fact, sometimes, when I could clear my mind and just watch and listen, I could almost forget that all of these kids...

DSC_3167
these seemingly happy, silly kids...

DSC_2953
had lost a servicemember parent or sibling.

DSC_2822

Every

DSC_3184

single

DSC_3188
DSC_2937

one of the kids.
DSC_2921

DSC_3000

On Sunday morning, the kids wrote letters to their lost parents, and attached them to balloons.
DSC_3139

DSC_3129


DSC_3119


DSC_3054

and then released them.  Each balloon represents a fallen servicemember.  There were so many balloons.  Too many.

DSC_3158

General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came to visit.

DSC_2912

DSC_2911

And we spent Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

DSC_3719

DSC_3810

DSC_3963DSC_3601

DSC_3967
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.


DSC_2722


4 comments:

  1. Oh man, I'm teary over here. Your photos are gorgeous, and how awesome that you gave your time to do this.

    Thanks for being awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh wow, Angel. Your pictures took my breath away. What an amazing weekend to be a part of. I must wipe away tears and blow my nose and get a hold of myself before I check out TAPS website. Thank you for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  3. OK, now I am crying, crying, crying and this was an awesome make-up day! Dammit!
    These pictures are beautiful, Angel. Your words alone would have been enough to make me cry, but those photos really put it over the edge. Those beautiful, smiling kids! God bless and keep them...

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a wonderful wonderful thing to do. As if I didn't love you enough already!

    ReplyDelete