Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This morning one of the shoots I'm editing is of a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery. Groups ranging from veterans organizations to visiting middle-schoolers take part in these ceremonies, which are part of the 24-hour vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns. (Visiting heads of state do this too.)

While I've photographed many of these — and the ceremony is always impressive — yesterday's was unusual. The group laying the wreath included former Army Sgt. Eric Edmundson of New Bern, N.C., who was severely injured by an IED in Iran.

Sgt. Edmundson now uses a wheelchair to get around, and a voice computer to speak to his wife and children. He was of the same rank and service as the guard sergeant who helped him during the ceremony. Going through the photos and seeing the two men together — one badly injured, the other whose smallest move showed the precision and perfection of his training, both wearing the same uniform — really brought home the cost of war and the sacrifices of those like Sgt. Edmundson who have served.