I feel compelled to write today, but everything I’ve tried to say seems to feel like it’s another person’s words, or someone else’s thoughts. Perhaps I simply don’t know what to think or how to feel, or maybe it’s more a problem of knowing that whatever I say could not be enough. Or maybe it’s that my feelings on the war are wrong, because without a doubt, no matter what I could say about it, at least half of you would vehemently disagree.

American Fork Flag salute for Sgt. Nathan S Barnes
American Fork Flag salute for Sgt. Nathan S Barnes

All I will say, is that today, for many people I know, the war in Iraq became infinitely more real. Today, my home town celebrated the life and mourned the loss of our own Sergeant Nathan S. Barnes. Hundreds of scouts and others lined the streets holding flags and saluting as the procession drove by. A bagpipe band played Amazing Grace, and I could hardly decide what was louder: the pounding of our hearts or the sound of them breaking. I tried to take some pictures. My camera died, and at the moment the shady spot we were standing in (especially looking at the cub scout group across the street also gathered under a single tree’s shade) didn’t seem right for a tribute photo. So I borrowed my mom’s camera, leaving her with my kids and their neighborhood friend who’d come along, and walked a few blocks up hill toward the cemetery. Now, aside from getting a chance for a quick chat with a nice REAL photographer (not just a bumbling pseudo-hobbyist like myself), I wish I’d stayed at the bottom of the hill. As it turns out, not only did they get the scout troops in order, but my own children had the opportunity to hold flags too. I wish I were there to see it, and yes, photograph them.

Worse than missing that though, exactly as I was videoing head of the procession driving by, my dear dad, who has an uncanny ability to call at the most inopportune times, decided to find out how much longer we’d be. I couldn’t silence the phone fast enough. I wonder how many people I distracted by neglecting to turn it off first. If you were one of them, I’m very sorry. Not that it’ll help much, but hey, have an amateur photograph.

I’m not used to my mom’s camera. The pictures came out super contrasty and saturated, so I resorted to an old trick of semi-desaturation for a colorized look. Enjoy. And please, no matter how you feel about the war in Iraq, remember our troops and the people they’re trying to help in your thoughts and prayers.


  1. herb

    I understand where you’re coming from. I, too have mixed emotions on the war. Let’s leave it at we know that in the last days there will be plenty of wars and rumors of wars to go around and false prophets will be at every street corner.

    Wonderful photo and my best wishes to another fallen hero’s family and friends.


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