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World War II veteran and former Congressman Bob Michel, left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen place a wreath at the National World War II Memorial in Washington as part of Monday's Memorial Day ceremony.
World War II veteran and former Congressman Bob Michel, left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen place a wreath at the National World War II Memorial in Washington as part of Monday's Memorial Day ceremony. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
World War II veteran and former Congressman Bob Michel, left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen place a wreath at the National World War II Memorial in Washington as part of Monday's Memorial Day ceremony.
World War II veteran and former Congressman Bob Michel, left, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen place a wreath at the National World War II Memorial in Washington as part of Monday's Memorial Day ceremony. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
An honor guard from the United States Air Force marches down Washington's Constitution Avenue during Monday's National Memorial Day Parade.
An honor guard from the United States Air Force marches down Washington's Constitution Avenue during Monday's National Memorial Day Parade. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Wreaths are ready to be placed Monday at the National World War II Memorial.
Wreaths are ready to be placed Monday at the National World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A delegation from the Scottish American Military Society arrives at the Korean War Memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony Monday morning.
A delegation from the Scottish American Military Society arrives at the Korean War Memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony Monday morning. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
American and South Korean flags are featured in a florak display places at the Korean War Memorial on Monday.
American and South Korean flags are featured in a florak display places at the Korean War Memorial on Monday. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Medal of Honor recipients Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., left, and Roger H.C. Donlon were among the honored guests at Monday's Memorial Day ceremony at the Mational World War II Memorial.
Medal of Honor recipients Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., left, and Roger H.C. Donlon were among the honored guests at Monday's Memorial Day ceremony at the Mational World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day at the Vietnam Women's Memorial.
Memorial Day at the Vietnam Women's Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Mementos placed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honor the fallen on Memorial Day.
Mementos placed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honor the fallen on Memorial Day. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A World War II veteran at Monday's Memorial Day ceremony.
A World War II veteran at Monday's Memorial Day ceremony. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Along the Memorial Day parade route.
Along the Memorial Day parade route. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A sailor awaits the start of a wreath-laying ceremony at the Navy Memorial.
A sailor awaits the start of a wreath-laying ceremony at the Navy Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Participants await the start of the Memorial Day parade.
Participants await the start of the Memorial Day parade. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Memorial Day parade paid tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, and among those taking part were volunteer firefighters from Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed.
The Memorial Day parade paid tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, and among those taking part were volunteer firefighters from Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and World War II veteran William Palmer at the Memorial Day ceremony.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and World War II veteran William Palmer at the Memorial Day ceremony. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The youngest generation carries photos of fallen members of the Greatest Generation at Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial.
The youngest generation carries photos of fallen members of the Greatest Generation at Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A family listens to the invocation during Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial.
A family listens to the invocation during Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The honor guard awaits the start of Monday's ceremony at the national World War II Memorial.
The honor guard awaits the start of Monday's ceremony at the national World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day parade grand marshal Pat Sajak waves to the crowd.
Memorial Day parade grand marshal Pat Sajak waves to the crowd. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna and singer Nancy Sinatra listen to Adm. Mike Mullen's speech at the National World War II Memorial.
Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna and singer Nancy Sinatra listen to Adm. Mike Mullen's speech at the National World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A panoramic view taken during Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial.
A panoramic view taken during Monday's ceremony at the National World War II Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A vehicle in the Memorial Day parade honors New York firefighters killed in the 9/11 attacks.
A vehicle in the Memorial Day parade honors New York firefighters killed in the 9/11 attacks. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The riderless horse signifying a fallen servicemember is led down Constitution Ave. in Washington during Monday's parade.
The riderless horse signifying a fallen servicemember is led down Constitution Ave. in Washington during Monday's parade. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Richard Garland’s face rippled with pain as he explained what brought him to Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

“A number of soldiers I served with before I got out lay to rest here,” the former Army specialist said. “They lost their lives in Iraq right after I got out. I feel like, part of me left with them.”

It was the first time Garland had visited his fallen comrades.

“They are incredible influences on my life – great leaders, great soldiers,” he said. “They deserve to be honored. This was the opportune time and the most appropriate time to do so.”

On Garland’s left arm is a tattoo of a prayer to St. Michael, the patron saint for paratroopers, like his friends.

“They carried it with them when they passed and St. Michael is now looking after them in heaven,” he said.

Garland was one of several people who came to Section 60 to pay respects to friends and loved ones Monday.

James Frantz came to visit the grave of a soldier who was in the same Humvee as his son when a roadside bomb exploded, killing both men.

“Our son was buried in Lafayette, Ind.,” Frantz said. “He had the honors to be buried here, but wife and I wanted him close to us.”

Memorial Day has a special significance to Frantz since he lost his son, Army Spc. Matthew C. Frantz, who was killed Jan. 20, 2006, in Iraq.

“We did lose our son for the freedoms that these others have fought for, so it brought a bigger and better understanding of what men and women fight for,” he said.

Section 60 can be the scene of immeasurable grief, said Adam Bryant, of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Some people spend days camped out in front of a loved-one’s gravesite as they try to come to terms with their loss.

These are the types of scenes that the American public needs to see in order to appreciate the sacrifices that U.S. troops make, Bryant said.

“The story needs to be told; the imagines need to be seen; the tears need to be shared; otherwise there is no sense of shared sacrifice, it’s a heavy burden borne by only a fraction of the percentage of the American population,” he said.

Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. In a speech directly afterward, he told families of the fallen that his heart goes out to them.

“I love my daughters more than anything in the world, and I cannot imagine losing them,” Obama said. “I can’t imagine losing a sister or brother or parent at war. The grief so many of you carry in your hearts is a grief I cannot fully know.”

Each servicemember laid to rest at Arlington represents a link in a chain that stretches all the way back to the American Revolution, Obama said.

“What bonds this chain together across the generations, this chain of honor and sacrifice, is not only a common cause – our country’s cause – but also a spirit captured in a Book of Isaiah, a familiar verse, mailed to me by the Gold Star parents of 2nd Lt. Mike McGahan,” Obama said. “When I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!’”

jeffrey.schogol@stripes.osd.mil

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