Looking at the photo coverage of Veterans Day, this image from Arlington is particularly tragic. It’s the gravestone of Sgt. Gene L. Lamie wo died in Iraq in 2007 at the age of 25. The stone is decorated with photos and his mother is describing the pictures.
Family photos are also the subject of a Veterans Day feature on the Facebook page of the USS John Stennis called Service Through the Generations. In a classic example of vernacular photography, various active duty soldiers have posted images of themselves with relatives who also served in the military.
Here, for example, is a Cryptologic Technician and her parents who were also naval officers. Her father was a Master Chief Constructionman, and her mother was also a Cryptologic Technician.
In this case, a Navy Public Affairs officer on the Stennis is pictured with his great Grandfather, a Naval officer pictured in 1927; his grandfather, who served in the Navy during World War II aboard a Navy destroyer; and two uncles, photographed in 1950 and 1951, one who served in the Navy and the other in the Army.
Besides the curiosity the photos raise about these soldiers and their family stories, the images speak to how deeply the military runs through our culture. In these families, it’s apparent that Veterans Day is far from an abstraction. Instead, it’d more like an anniversary, an occasion that not only affirms family bonds but seems to do so by collapsing time.
(photo 1: Lexey Swall/Getty Images. Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2012. photos 2 and 3: USS John C. Stennis Facebook page.)