A memorial on Veterans Day
We pay tribute and give thanks to those who have served in the United States Armed Forces today. It’s an easy thing to do. I try to recognize the sacrifices millions of Americans have made as often as I can simply by telling them, “Thank you”. I have had the privilege of photographing veterans from several different wars and I consider most of these assignments among my favorites. This week alone I photographed veterans who fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo and Iraq.
Instead of displaying photos of the veterans I most recently met, though, I have decided to pay homage to a fallen soldier gone but not forgotten. I photographed the family of Justin Scott of Bellevue, Kentucky back in 2004. Justin was the first soldier from Northern Kentucky to die in the war in Afghanistan. I followed Justin’s father Bill through a painful few days as his 22-year-old son was laid to rest. The photos you see above start with the news of Justin’s death hitting home. Literally. On Super Bowl Sunday, a few days before funeral services, Bill, family and friends popped beers and gave a toast to Justin. In the days to follow I witnessed a family and community come together to mourn the loss.
I stayed in contact with Bill for a few years and traveled to Germantown, Kentucky where he was building a new home on a street appropriately named Justin Scott Ln. The story will continue on and it is repeated thousands of times for each war or conflict. It’s why we salute each and every one of our veterans while remembering those who are no longer with us.
We pause to simply say, “Thank you”.