Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gardens of Stone - Arlington National Cemetery

Every Memorial Day scores of mourners make an annual pilgrimage to Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. Located in the Southeast corner of Arlington's sprawling hallowed ground, this ever-growing plot of land is home to much of America's war dead from recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror. Section 60 is home to service members from all five branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Family members, friends, and complete strangers travel from around the country to stroll through the sea of white headstones, paying respects, reading names, placing flowers, and leaving behind mementos atop the graven white marble monuments. Throughout the year meaningful items are left atop and around the headstones of fallen military personnel, usually on birthdays or death anniversaries. In the days following Memorial Day and Veterans Day however, the number of mementos left behind grows substantially. From unit insignia, shell casings, roses, and challenge coins, to alcohol, candy bars, and childhood action figures, the items that adorn the headstones often tell a story that the headstone alone cannot. 

SFC Daniel Adrian Suplee
August 3, 2006 - Kabul, Afghanistan