While at the beach my wife and I visited the National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina, after a very nice date. Hundreds upon hundreds of headstone aligned in formation just as these soldiers would have done if they were standing in formation. The cost of freedom never rung so true until I laid my eyes on the graves of these fallen heroes of men and women, young and old. The quote kept ringing in my head, “all gave some; some gave all.” As my wife and I wondered around the grounds I saw an American flag tucked away amongst the tombstones, this symbol of our freedom and what these men and woman have fought so gallantly for was the most colorful object in the scene. As we moved on I saw a man to the right of me with a crew haircut talking with a woman that was obliviously visiting a loved one. The man, looking as though he was telling a story about his fellow soldier and his heroic acts on the battlefield; the woman listened in awe. To the left of me was a man with a cane looking down at the grave of his son. I thought to myself I wanted to photograph him, though, I didn’t know how to do it in a respectful manner but as we moved closer I talked myself in to it. Mr. Edward T Harris, a retired Sargent Major of the United States Marine Cor., was visiting his son’s grave who was also Marine. We later learned that it was the sixth year anniversary of his son’s death. Mr. Harris was one of the nicest men I have met and as we talked I was filled with pride to know that men like him, have and are fighting to protect this country that we all love so dearly. However, the big question was how do I photograph this and show the sacrifice that Mr. Harris and countless others have given. I decided that I wanted to back up and show the magnitude of all the graves while isolating Mr. Harris. My lighting was a 12-inch soft-box that was the main light back lighting Mr. Harris. Next I put a snoot on my second flash and used it to light his face but careful not to overpower the soft-box. Before parting ways I asked Mr. Harris if there was anything special he would like for me to put in the closing of the blog, he smiled and said “children are stars, that God has given to the mother. When a star dies off, a new one is born. You have got to hold your children close.”
Huge thank you to Mr. Harris for allowing me to photograph him and for his service. Also, I could not thank you enough to our service men and women; the sacrifices that they make and have made are ones that I could never understand. Because of them, we can enjoy the freedom that we do today.