May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day 2011

I was drawn to this Memorial Day photo for its painful innocence.

Maybe it’s the happiness on this boy’s face for the chance to participate in a flag raising ceremony at this Ohio cemetery full of vets. Maybe it’s the uniform — or the anonymity that makes him stand for all the enthusiastic boys in the world.  It’s jarring because there’s really nothing cheerful about this holiday — not in the strictest sense anyway, beyond all the picnic-, and auto racing-, and air show-, and even Palin-infused Rolling Thunder photos filling the newswire.

I just don’t know what to do with that exuberance, that enthusiasm, that forms an ironic bookend to that soldier’s grave.

(photo:Amy Sancetta/AP caption: In honor of Memorial Day, Pack 433 Cub Scout Tommy Buckles, 9, of Lyndhurst, Ohio, holds a folded flag before a flag raising ceremony at Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Hts., Ohio on Saturday, May 28, 2011. After the ceremony, the scouts walked the cemetery placing flags on the graves of veterans.)

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Michael Shaw
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