When I was contacted to photograph a memorial service to honor Veteran, Ken Mueller, I was not sure what to anticipate. As the family awaited the service, I could feel the weight and importance that this held for his only son. The soldiers approached in unison and began their process to unfold the American flag. The precise and serious manner in which they worked signified the magnitude of this tribute; a tribute to a man who put his life at risk to defend our nation and uphold the freedom we so often take for granted. I shot as tears quietly ran down my face, taking in the sound of the horn playing “Taps” and the soldiers saluting the flag to thank this gentleman for his service. And as the flag was presented to Mr. Mueller’s son, my breath caught in my chest.
It was in these moments that I not only thanked Mr. Mueller for his service, but I thought about my grandfathers and their service during World War II; the tens of thousands of soldiers who have given of their time, the soldiers who have had their physical and/or emotional state altered, the soldiers who have lost their lives, and the friends and family who have lost loved ones during wars.
I emotionally invest in the families I work with, pouring myself into our session and time together, each one etching themselves on my heart. As I sit here wiping away tears, I can honestly say that the hour I spent at the National Memorial Cemetery will always hold a special place in my soul.