“The saddest acre on earth” one mourner informs us.

Section 60 is not a term that most of us have ever heard. Section 60 is the part of Arlington reserved for those brave men and women that have given their life in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funerals and cemeteries are sad events and places at the best of times, but when you get to see the sheer magnitude of this one small area of Arlington it makes me want to cry.

Different people grieve in different ways, one man came to spend time with his brother in law Chris.

Chris was only 22, he loved the fact that he had been stationed in Germany, and he had just discovered beer. So I thought I would come out here and share an Octoberfest with him.

At which point two bottles of beer are opened, one to sip, one to pour reverently on the grave.

I had kind of looked forward to hanging out with Chris, but I guess this will have to do.

If that doesn’t pull on your heart strings, I don’t know what would. To die at age 22 under any circumstance is sad, to die in a foreign country fighting for someone else’s right to freedom is surely the greatest sacrifice a man can make. I do not agree with the war in Iraq, but I whole heartedly support those brave men and women that are out there.

HBO once again have done an excellent job of bringing an often forgotten story to life. For one day, from sunrise to sunset they follow the activity in the Arlington National Cemetery. There are tears, there are stories, there are reunions, there is even laughter, but there is an overwhelming sense of sadness and loss that permeates every interaction.

One little girl gives us sage advice “If you go in the army you will get killed”. As the saying goes, ‘from the mouths of babes’.

This is reality TV that just doesn’t get any more real. I have a stepson who survived two tours of duty in Iraq, my wife was a wreck for every day that he was in the war torn place. Luckily Bobby came out unscathed, at least physically. But he likely has been changed for forever by his experiences.

Section 60 airs on Monday Oct/13 at 9pm on HBO. This maybe the saddest documentary I have ever seen. It does not matter what your stance is on our presence in Iraq or Afghanistan, this program will bring you to tears.

And a note to Chris’s brother in law, a good friend of mine died a year or so ago, not in the war, but of cancer, I did something pretty similar to what you did. We each grieve in our own ways.

Simon Barrett

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