Categorized | Samantha Baker

Memorial Day in Bella Vista

I find that it is often very easy to get caught up in the daily activities, stresses, ambition, and politics of life that we forget what is really important to us. This is why, at least for me, Memorial Day and similar holidays are so very special. Coming from a family of servicemen, including a brother who is currently active in the U.S. military, I get emotionally caught up in events such as these. They not only remind me of the great sacrifice our servicemen and women and their family have given for the rest of us, but event such as these remind me of how strong the brotherhood of the U.S. military is and how special it is to live in the United States of America. There really is a sense of family amongst strangers here. There is also a great sense of love for anyone and everyone who choose to come.

There were two people that were gracious enough to share their stories with me today, and I am forever grateful. Photographing patrons of a cemetery is never something I look forward to doing, but both James Collins and Carole Ashcraft opened up to me about why they were there decorating graves. Collins served with the man he was visiting. Since learning the man was buried in Bella Vista, and despite not knowing the man too well except that he was a fellow Arkansan, Collins has made it a ritual to visit on Memorial Day and Veterans Day for the last three years. Ashcraft was still in mourning of the recent loss of her husband, a World War II veteran, who died May 2. She was thankful to have her husband close by in the Bella Vista Memorial Garden Cemetery so she could visit. She said when she saw the bluebirds in the area on Sunday night, she knew that this was a place God was at, and she was happy her husband was there.

So a happy Memorial Day to all and a very special “thank you” to those who have or are currently serving our country!

Photo from this gallery can be purchase here, after May 29.


I'm originally from Colorado and I was introduced to photojournalism in high school while working on the school's yearbook. In 2011, I graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in journalism and art. This is my first “real-world” job, but while in college I worked for CSU's daily student newspaper and I interned for Denver-based Westword, the Colorado Eagles (ACHL hockey team) and Johnson and Wales University. I cherish analog photography and I like to shoot on a medium-format Mamyia RB67 whenever I can. While I'm not at work, I enjoy doing all sorts of physical activities, especially mud runs and Crossfit, and I love to bake desserts (which are usually consumed by my coworkers).