Once again, a modern Memorial Day tradition was seen at Arlington National Cemetery. Over the past 14 years on Memorial Day, families who had never met before have gotten to know each other and bonds have formed.
Arlington National Cemetery's Section 60 is the final resting place of many of America's war dead of Iraq and Afghanistan. But on Memorial Day, this place comes alive with activity.
Each year, families and friends of those buried in Section 60 spend the day here. They bring blankets, coolers and chairs and settle in for a day to remember people like Spc. Darryl T. Dent of the D.C. National Guard. He was killed in 2003.
"Those are the types of guys you want to remember and you want to pay your respects," said Cpl. Robert Young of the D.C. National Guard. "We come out every year just to do that."
For the families, the emotional wounds are still fresh. Most of the headstones in Section 60 are from the last 14 years.
Gina Barnhurst, of Severna Park, Maryland, said spending this day at the grave of her son, Marine LCpl. Eric Herzberg, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2006, also reunites her with other families she has gotten to know.
"We just all started coming, and it just happened to be Sunday was the day, and so we met each other and we've just been a real support system for each other," said Barnhurst. "And then as the new families come in -- there is a lady back there from California -- I put flowers out for her on Sundays."
Paula Davis and Barnhurst struck up a friendship after their sons were buried near each other. Davis' son, Army Pfc. Justin Davis of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was killed in 2006.
Now, as a new debate grows over sending U.S. troops to combat ISIS, Davis said she hopes political leaders also consider the cost to families like those here at Section 60.
"We've got to try everything," she said. "That should absolutely be the last thing we do because it's just a lifetime that you have to live with the losses. It doesn't get better. It gets different."
The families will tell you for them emotionally, the wars that took their loved ones have never really ended. Each Memorial Day, when they reunite and see new friends, this final resting of the dead is once again filled with love and life.
A decade ago, Arlington National Cemetery had estimated that it would have reached capacity in the year 2025. Now, two expansion projects -- one near Fort Myer and another near Columbia Pike -- will allow the cemetery to continue burials, which average 25 to 30 every day.