Memorial Day - a day for remembering the men and women of our armed services who died while at war. Memorial Day weekend has also become the unofficial kickoff to Summer, complete with backyard barbecues, parades and family getaways. Collected here are a handful of photographs for remembrance, acknowledging some of the men and women who have passed in conflicts from the U.S. Civil War through Iraq and Afghanistan today.
Soliders from the U.S. Army Old Guard place flags at grave stones at Arlington National Cemetery May 21, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. It took 1,300 soldiers, sailors and Marines about three hours to place a flag at each of the more than 300,000 gravestones at Arlington ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.
Visitors walk among white marble crosses at the American Cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer. Traces of World War II can still be found across this stretch of Normandy, on the beaches, in the museums and above all, in the cemeteries where President Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkzoy and some of the last veterans will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 landings in just a couple weeks
Members of a U.S. Air Force carry team carry a flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Specialist Lukasz Saczek of Lake in the Hills, Ill. from a C-17 to a vehicle during a dignified transfer on the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base May 12, 2009 in Dover, Delaware. Assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry, Saczek was killed in Afghanistan May 10 in a non-combat related incident.
Standing before in front of a War Memorial in Natick, Massachusetts are John Arena (l) who served in the U.S. Army in World War II and his brother James Arena, who served in the U.S. Marines in the Korean War. They are part of a group of Natick Veterans who had multiple brothers serve in the military.
Laura Youngblood, widow of U.S. Navy Petty Officer Travis L. Youngblood, touches his gravestone while visiting his grave in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery during the Memorial Day weekend in Arlington, Virginia, May 24, 2009. Youngblood died of wounds received in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in July of 2005 in Iraq.
Joe Waltz, a 25-year Air Force veteran and Continental pilot, tails the Lone Star Freedom Flight formation during a rehearsal Sunday, May 24, 2009 in Conroe, Texas for their Memorial Day flyover. The group, led by Omer "Sam" Ward, a retired United States Air Force Colonel and 27-year veteran, is composed mostly of former military pilots and performs the "missing man" formation at patriotic events around Montgomery County.
The remains of the USS LST-480, or Landing Ship Tank, is seen in West Loch near Pearl Harbor, Monday, April 20, 2009, in Honolulu. The naval vessel sank in an accidental explosion on May 21, 1944 which killed 163 men and sank several other Landing Ship Tank vessels. The LST ships were being loaded with ammunition and gas and were preparing for a voyage to the Marianas Islands, for what was expected to be a brutal invasion, codenamed "Operation Forager." The Navy will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the disaster on Thursday, May 21, 2009.
Sergeant Obie Wickersham, left, 84, of Yuba City, California, and Sergeant Fred Liddell, right, 80, of Opelika, Alabama, give their final salute to their friend, Army Sgt. 1st Class Patrick J. Arthur of Broken Bow, Neb., at Arlington National Cemetery, Friday, May 1, 2009, fulfilling their promise they made 57 years ago when they buried him on an unmarked spot in North Korea. It was the only gesture their Chinese captors allowed them to bestow on Sgt. Arthur who died while a prisoner of war, from malaria, malnutrition and the 500-mile march through the mountains of central Korea during the Korean War.
Freshly-placed flags fly over the graves of Civil War veterans in Green Mount Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day in Montpelier, Vt., Friday, May 22, 2009. The federal holiday was first enacted to commemorate Union soldiers from the Civil War, and later expanded to honor casualties of any war or military action.
In this April 28, 2009 photo, Joe Landaker poses at his home in Big Bear City, Calif., with a portrait of his son, Jared, a Marine helicopter pilot who died on his last mission in Iraq. Landaker is among more than 300 volunteers who honor veterans buried in Riverside National Cemetery by reading their names leading up to Memorial Day each year.
Members of the Armed Forces unveil the flag to celebrate Memorial Day prior to the game between the Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands on May 24, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
A U.S. Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Army Chief Warrant Officer Three Brent Cole off a 747 cargo plane during a dignified transfer at Dover AFB May 23, 2009 in Dover, Delaware. Cole, of Linden, NC, died while serving in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
A Philippine Army soldier salutes during a commemorative ceremony inside the Manila American cemetery on May 24, 2009 as people come out to the area ahead of the US Memorial Day on May 25. At least 17,000 graves lay in the memorial park that pays tribute to US and Philippines soldiers that fought side by side during World War II.
Evelyn Shepherd of Colonial Beach touches the gravestone of her late husband, Korean and Vietnam wars veteran Clarence Shepherd, during her visit to Quantico National Cemetery in Triangle, Va., on Sunday May 24, 2009.
Army Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commanding general of the United States Army Accessions Command, presents an American flag to Heather Jackson the fiance of Army Staff Sgt. William D. Vile, 27, of Philadelphia, Pa., Thursday, May 21, 2009, during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. According to the Department of Defense, Vile died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using direct fire on May 1 near the village of Nishagam, in Konar Province, Afghanistan. Vile was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. Also holding an American flag at left is Donna Vile, Staff Sgt. Vile's mother.
David Humphreys, of Trenton, N.J., kneels at the grave site of his Vietnam veteran father, David Humphreys, at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery Thursday, May 21, 2009, in Wrightstown, N.J.
A U.S. soldier salutes near the helmet of 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte during a Memorial Day observance ceremony at Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, May 25, 2009. On Monday the U.S. forces based at Camp Eggers gathered wearing khaki, camouflage and blue blazers to salute their latest dead comrades, Schulte, from Ladue, Mo., and Shawn Pine from San Antonio, Texas, a former Army ranger who was working as a contractor to train Afghan army soldiers.