Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Honoring a hero


Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Linda Breaux gets a hug from a supporter before the memorial service for her son, Marine Staff Sgt. Benjamin D. Williams, at North Orange Baptist Church in Orange on Saturday, July 8, 2006. The LC-M High School graduate and star athlete was killed by an improvised explosive device in Al Anbar province in Iraq on June 20, 2006.

Award winner:   3rd Place, News Photo, Texas Press Association, 2007 Better Newspaper Contest.


Linda Breaux gets a hug from a supporter before the memorial service for her son, Marine Staff Sgt. Benjamin D. Williams, at North Orange Baptist Church in Orange.



A Marine honor guard departs after posting the colors during the memorial service for Marine Staff Sgt. Benjamin D. Williams at North Orange Baptist Church in Orange.


Please read "Orange Marine memorialized by high school" by Dee Dixon to learn more about Staff Sgt. Benjamin Dewayne Williams.
 

4 comments:

Bryon Houlgrave said...

Very moving images, Mark.

newsphotoken said...

Mark,

Great stuff.
Can you tell us about the shoot. As far as access, positioning and tact needed in situations like this.
Also, for the readers who are fairly new to the profession, can you talk about dress code for events like this.

I was a a funeral the other day for a Air Force Tech Sgt who was shot down and killed in Vietnam and whose remains were returned to the U.S. after 34 years. It was very somber, as the family members were finally getting closure after three decades.

We had myself, our photo intern and a reporter at the funeral - all in appropriate clothing.

Meanwhile two television photojournalists came in - one in jeans and the other in shorts. The one in shorts had not even bothered to shave.

Anyway, maybe in one of your informational posts you can talk about dressing and acting like the professionals that we are.

Ken

Donncha said...

That is so sad and awful. That are some great shots, I too would be very interested in how you carried yourself in the church. It can't be easy.

Donncha

Mark M. Hancock said...

I've covered many funerals here and plan to write a "how to cover funerals and memorials" entry.
For most funerals, I have a specific "funeral suit." It's a double-breasted black suit with a black shirt, gray tie and black "spit shined" shoes. Sometimes it's difficult to wear this in 120-degree / 99 percent humidity, but it's about honor.
As far as behavior, I arrive early, get the program or photograph the minister's notes and most often scurry into the loft with a long lens.
The whole point is to blend into the background and not disturb anyone while still honoring the people involved.