Today, in America, we honor our fallen military heroes. Last night, my wife and I did our usual watching the Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC, on the PBS channel. It was raining in Washington so the crowd was very small this year but the people that did show up paid tribute to the nation's fallen.
During my short tenure as a newspaper photographer in Florida, I covered several heartbreaking occasions where death was involved but had only one occasion to cover a returning soldier who died in Afghanistan. Sgt. Timothy Padgett was killed in action on May 8, 2007, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Padgett, an Army Ranger medic, returned home to be honored in his hometown of Defuniak Springs, FL.
I was the only photographer on hand at the Defuniak Springs airport as Sgt. Padgett arrived via helicopter from the local base. Not wanting to insert myself into the family's face for photos, I chose an 80-200mm zoom and a 300mm telephoto so I could capture the moment. Padgett's daughter in these images was just 8 years old and today is a beautiful young woman attending college. I also attended the graveside services and put together a 10-image page from the photographs I captured on those two days.
I hope today
finds his family cherishing the memories of his life with them and the
honor that is held in the hearts of all Americans.
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