Good Morning from Sweet Home Alabama! I’ve been on the road for almost two weeks and drove back yesterday from Perdido Key, FL. I hope your Memorial Day weekend was an exceptional and honorable weekend spent with family and friends.
For all of my many trips back and forth to Florida one of the things I have wanted to do for quite sometime was visit the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, AL. just north of Montgomery. I have seen the sign so many times as I past it by on I-65. I have always wanted to stop by but my travel schedules have never allowed for the extra time. As luck would have, yesterday, on my return home on Memorial Day just happened to finally allow me to take a side road.
I am a huge admirer of cemeteries and even more so of those that are associated with the military. There is something very powerful and commanding about a military cemetery with all of the identical white headstones lined up in perfect symmetry. Generally I find myself over powered with a sense of reverence and become very humbled to be in the presence of those that have given their lives as the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
Yesterday was even more special as I walked through the rows of head stones for the very first time. The Alabama cemetery is not as austere as some of the military cemeteries I have witnessed but it commands the same reverence and respect as all of the others I have had the honor to visit. I felt an additional amount of pride and humility, as it was the very day meant to honor those individuals whom have given their lives.
As I walked through the cemetery I could not help but notice many in anguish but particularly a young lady sitting so very close to a headstone. It was obvious that it was someone she had dearly loved. As I watched, her pain and sorrow for the person she had lost was overly apparent, as her love and admiration seemed to be unequivocal. I could not help but imagine who the person may be and could not help but want to offer a kind word in support. As I approached and asked whom the love one was she uttered the words my Papa – my grandfather. I was taken back by her answer and could only utter a few words of encouragement and support for her loss and his service to our country. At that moment it seemed so unfair that someone so young had to experience something of this magnitude and the sorrow showed on her face as she wiped back the tears.
As a photographer we see things in a different way and we hoped that through our vision we can make a difference in the way we all live our lives. As difficult as it was for me to capture her in her time of despair I could not help but be drawn into the moment, with such a riveting and emotional image before my eyes.
I can only hope that the significance of the moment and the beautiful image can help someone else though such a troubling time. It is with sincere gratitude that I would like thank all who have served and to offer my condolences to all who have suffered a loss. We salute you all!!!!
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Best Regards …..
~ dennis keim ~