Mike Rossi served and grew up with Corporal Stephen Bixler, who died five years ago as a Marine in Iraq. On Monday, Rossi enjoyed not an end but a new beginning and a sense of closure and triumph for a lifelong friend.
"I'm just glad we could be down here with Steve today, and celebrate it," Rossie said.
Bixler was just one of about 6,003 Americans, military and civilian, who were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
All day long, people from far and wide came to visit loved ones at the cemetery. Those who visit the cemetery often said the Afghanistan section is as busy as ever.
"There was probably more flowers and rocks on gravestones and figurines than I've seen in a long time," said Mike Cartwright, an enlisted serviceman.
For a group of girls from Gainesville, the morning felt bittersweet. They buried 23-year-old Sean Callahan Monday. The Marine died a week ago in Afghanistan. While they haven't yet found closure, they drew comfort from the hope that and end to the hunt for Osama bin Laden will help Callahan and others rest in peace.