Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery

October 13, 2008

We’re all well aware of the impact that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have had on our Troops and their families, the difficulties those wars have caused, as fathers and mothers, sons and daughters go off to war, multiple times and leave their loved ones behind. We’re aware of the scores of wounded as a results of these wars, as well as the number of young men and women, who’s lives have been lost in the fight against terrorism in those two countries.

Tonight on HBO at 9pm Eastern time, the premiere of Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery will air. Section 60, is the section of Arlington National Cemetery, that is the final resting place of hundreds of men and women who have lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. The focus of the film is not as much the men and women who have been buried there, but instead their family members and loved ones who’ve been left behind.1

On Sunday night, those family members were honored guests at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC for a private screening of the film, which lasts an hour. Following the private screening, one family member called for a round of applause for the film makers. That drew a sustained standing ovation. The film was produced by the same team of people that produced the documentary “Baghdad ER,” and they’ve worked hard to take a noncommercial focus on the cemetery plot and the family members they’ve left behind. The film takes the viewer from one mourner to another, providing them with a view of very private moments in the lives of the people who are portrayed.

“I doubt it will be particularly popular,” said Mary Neiberger, whose son Army SPC Christopher Neiberger, was killed in Baghdad on August 5, 2007. Neiberger said the film was well done, but added, “It’s too close to real … and I don’t think many people feel very comfortable or very entertained by that.”2

The film makers are well aware of the impact the film may have, both positive and negative, but feel that it’s a story that needs to be told. It’s a story that is often overlooked, especially in the political arena, when the deaths of our Troops are reduced to mere numbers to make political points, without concern about the lives of the fallen warriors or the lives of those left behind.

“It was very powerful,” said Laura Cowherd, whose brother Leonard, and Army second Lieutenant, was killed May 16, 2004 in Karbala, Iraq. “Sort of what we go through every day. The tears. The emotion. I think they did a good job.”3

The film strives to remind the viewer, that the lives of those left behind, go on, regardless of the gaping hole that is caused by the death of their loved one. There are still young children to raise, jobs to go to every day. They continue to live life. The film emphasizes the struggle the families have as they have to continue their lives.

Knowing the calibre of men and women who serve in the armed forces of this country, I also know the calibre of the men and women whose lives have been affected by their loss, the strength and tenacity it takes to go on after such a devastating loss. This is just a small way that the films producers can take the time to remind America that their families are still out there, still mourning and yet, still living their lives. Take some time to watch this film this evening. I think it will open a lot of eyes to the lives of military families who’ve lost their loved one in service to our country.

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3 Responses to “Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery”

  1. Jason on October 13th, 2008 7:58 pm

    Absolutely moving.

  2. mary on October 15th, 2008 7:08 pm

    I’m so glad this film was made. We need a little reality to remind us not to take our loved ones for granted. We never know when they won’t be there to hug and say ” I love you!” Thank you to all who serve our country!

  3. Charlie on October 16th, 2008 10:51 pm

    I saw the film for the first time last night and I thought it did a very good job at depicting (without political bias or spins) the families of our fallen heroes. I’m involved with a grassroots campaign to support the families of military members who have died in service. The most frustrating thing for me is when I do fundraising and folks say I Support Our Troops…but I feel this way and that way about these wars and so on. I have committed to just saying, I Support Our Troops and their families PERIOD! I leave my politics out of it and apart. Of course politics and almost anything are easily mixed, but guess what…they are also easily segregated. This film does a nice job of doing just that. It didn’t seem to me that the film makers went about looking for particular types of comments from family members and that is a gigantic breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, when I did the search for this film a few very politically biased adds popped up about a certain book that has a very polorized view of of the world condition and that was disappointing. This film however, was not disappointing. It was compelling, very sad and very inspiring for me. Certainly worth the time it takes to watch it. Our men and women in our armed forces are incredible human beings and so are the families behind them. I thank them all for their service. Charlie

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