Monday, October 12, 2009

Fallen Hero: Stephan Mace

Last Sunday, I was assigned to photograph the arrival of the body of Stephan Mace, 21, who was killed on Oct. 3 during combat in Afghanistan. His body was flown into Leesburg Executive Airport and then he received a police escort back to his home town in Purcellville, VA.

The following day, I photographed his funeral at Purcellville Baptist Church. It was a very quiet and sad event. My camera often acts as an shield against the emotions of an event that I'm witnessing. It was not until later when editing my final selection for the paper that I realized the importance and the sadness of the day.

His death seems to coincide with an increase in focus on the war in Afghanistan, which begun 8 years ago. When this war began Mace would have been 13-years-old. That fact deeply resonates with me.

It was a honor to be able to document these events because my images will become a part of the public record that will memorialize Mace's sacrifice and the sacrifices of all the soldiers that have died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.


drew said...

great package, its hard to keep shooting in those situations...

John said...

Mr. Thompson,
Stephan was not only my nephew, but he was my friend as well. The Memorial Service was as difficult a situation as I have ever faced in my 48 years. My heart was crushed throughout the entire day. I often had to seperate myself at the gathering after to have some moments of private reflection and to have some time to regain my strength for my family. I had managed to make it through the day after without falling apart until I was sent these photos. How beautiful and honorable they truly are. Thank you so much. I will keep these in my heart always. John Petro

petra said...

Ray, remember when you sometimes doubt that your work matters? Well, this is that time when it does! For Stephan, these pictures will mean something forever!