Recently a memorial came to town paying tribute to all the soldiers that have fallen in the war against terror since September 11th. The memorial Remembering Our Fallen moved me greatly, in fact it moved me to tears in many cases. I snapped a few photos, and then a few more and a few more. By the end of the evening I was touched by close to 100 photos of the soldiers and their families. Many of the photos were taken with tear filled eyes.
Every picture affected me in some way. From a cavalry soldier riding a rocking horse – Capt. Drew Russell, to the way only a mother holds her son –Cpl. Mark Kidd to Pfc. Melissa Hobart holding her 3-year old daughter Alexis, a funny face from 1st Lt Roslyn Shulte. Finally, SPC Lee Allen Weigand, I had to stand there and process what I was seeing in the photo and it broke my heart. That’s the photo that finally broke me down from teary eyes into a sobbing mess. Ask anyone who knows me, I don’t get this way but this memorial Remembering Our Fallen touched me in a deep way.
I was so upset that a Gold Star father came up to console me and asked me my story. I told him I didn’t have one, I’m one of the lucky ones, my son came home from the war. We sat down on a bench and he told me his story. Actually it was his son-in-law that was killed. He deployed in September and was killed in November. They received two letters from him in that time frame. The first said all was okay and there was nothing to worry about, the second letter stated that this was a hell hole. They never heard from him after that until they were notified of his death. His daughter and granddaughter gave the one of the keynote addresses at the ceremony that night. Just heartbreaking.
As I mentioned I took close to 100 photos that night but I didn’t know what I was going to do with them so I put them all together and made a video. With Memorial Day being right around the corner the timing seemed appropriate.
For many Memorial Day is just a day off from work. Many other people confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. What really irks me is when people try to capitalize from Memorial Day; “In honor of our fallen soldiers pizzas are now buy one get one free!” – I really hate that.
I will tell you for some this video is very moving (get the Kleenex) but it’s appropriate for these Gold Star families. Please give these families 6 minutes of your time, they more that deserve that. If the “Remembering Our Fallen” memorial ever comes to your area take some time and view the more than 5300 members of the military and their photos. This was the most powerful memorial I’ve ever experienced. I’m not a great filmmaker but I gave this my best shot. A Gold Star family’s greatest fear is that their loved ones will be forgotten, please don’t let that happen.
I do have one favor to ask, if you find this video worthy please share the link. If this moves a few Americans to appreciate our Gold Star families and all they’ve given up it’s worth the effort. – Thank you.