Memorial Day 2014 at Arlington National Cemetery

On Memoral Day, friends and relatives will make the pilgrimage to visit the graves of their comrades, friends and loved ones at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memoral Day, friends and relatives will make the pilgrimage to visit the graves of their comrades, friends and loved ones at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

Section 60 at Arlington has been called “the saddest acre in America.” It is the final resting place for young men and women who died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. For families and friends of the fallen, it has become a place to grieve, honor and remember. They find comfort and community with thousands of others who have shared the same unbearable loss.

This was my fifth consecutive Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, and my third in a row working for European PressPhoto Agency.

It is never easy photographing people visiting a cemetery. You can’t help but feel you are intruding or taking advantage of vulnerable people in a somewhat captive situation. It only escalates when you actually have to approach someone to get their name for a caption. But almost without failure, much of this trepidation subsides once you begin to talk to the subject of your photo.

I have found that most people want to talk about their loved ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They want their stories to be told and you get a sense that maybe they feel your coverage will enable the memory of these heroes to live on. There have been rare occasions where someone has declined to give their name or asked not to have a photograph published. But even then, they have declined politely and without anger for their grief being intruded upon.

One moment you will see people openly grieving and another you will see people laughing and sharing stories of their friends and loved ones. The range of emotions runs to both extremes. It is always an emotional and exhausting assignment.

Here are some of the images from this year’s visit.

On Memorial Day, Brittany Jacobs of Hertford, North Carolina walks along the rows of headstones in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery with her son, Christian, 3, in Arlington, Virginia, USA. Jacobs and her son were visiting the grave of her husband, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memorial Day, Brittany Jacobs of Hertford, North Carolina walks along the rows of headstones in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery with her son, Christian, 3, in Arlington, Virginia, USA. Jacobs and her son were visiting the grave of her husband, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

Friends and relatives visit the graves of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

Friends and relatives visit the graves of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

Sophia Namvar, 5, of San Antonio, Texas, offers a rose to Christian Jacobs, 3, of Hertford, North Carolina at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. Jacobs was visiting the grave of his father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, with his mother, Brittany. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

Sophia Namvar, 5, of San Antonio, Texas, offers a rose to Christian Jacobs, 3, of Hertford, North Carolina at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. Jacobs was visiting the grave of his father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, with his mother, Brittany. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memorial Day, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel visits with friends and family members of fallen servicemen and women at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memorial Day, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel visits with friends and family members of fallen servicemen and women at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memoral Day, friends and relatives visit the graves of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memoral Day, friends and relatives visit the graves of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

Lauura Youngblood weeps over the grave of her husband Travis L. Youngblood at section 60 in Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. Laura Youngblood is also a veteran of the United States Navy. Her husband was killed during the Iraq War. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

Lauura Youngblood weeps over the grave of her husband Travis L. Youngblood at section 60 in Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. Laura Youngblood is also a veteran of the United States Navy. Her husband was killed during the Iraq War. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memoral Day, friends and relatives visit the graves of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

On Memoral Day, friends and relatives visit the graves of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, USA, on 26 May 2014. (PETE MAROVICH/EPA)

5 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2014 at Arlington National Cemetery

Leave a Reply to Ken Cedeno on Facebook Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!