This Memorial Day, while most of us are celebrating with barbecues and binge-watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix, it’s easy to forget that there are families of fallen veterans spending the day grieving for their lost ones. But a photo trending on social media today serves as a sobering reminder of the true purpose of the holiday.
Snapped by Arizona State University student Christopher Stevens, the photo depicts Laureen Lopez-Berry lying next to her husband’s grave at Arlington Cemetery. Lopez-Berry’s husband, Army Staff Sgt. Richard Berry, was killed by a roadside bomb while on combat deployment in Afghanistan in 2012. He was only 27 years old.
An army veteran himself, Stevens snapped the photo of Lopez-Berry while he was visiting Arlington Cemetery.
“It was absolutely heart breaking. I could not imagine what she was feeling at that moment. I just stood there in awe,” Stevens told the Daily Dot via email.
“It was as if the aftermath of the war was sitting in front of me—a warrior died protecting his country, and his loving wife was there to visit him. It is so important our elected officials see photos like this, [because] it connects them to their foreign policy decisions.”
While Stevens didn’t talk to Lopez-Berry that day, they later got in touch on Facebook, after a friend of hers recognized her as the woman in the photo. Lopez-Berry “has a strength about her that [I’ve] never seen in another person,” Stevens told the Daily Dot.
H/T My Fox Atlanta | Photo by Christopher Stevens/GripGraphs