The image was taken 13 years ago at Arlington National Cemetery, on the date the United States celebrates Memorial Day.

Mary McHugh is on the grave of who was to be her husband, in Arlington National Cemetery. It is May 25, 2007 and Mary cries heartbrokenly remembering her fiancé, Sergeant James J. Regan . The photo, which was taken 13 years ago, went viral on social networks on the day that soldiers killed in combat are commemorated in the United States.

“She sat in front of the grave … spoke to the headstone. He spoke in broken sentences between sobs, gesturing with his hands, sometimes pausing as if trying to explain something, “said John Moore, photojournalist, who took the picture.

Some people feel that the photo I took at the time was too intimate, too personal . Like many who have seen the photo, I was overwhelmed by his pain and moved by the love he felt for his fallen lover,” added the photographer.

On February 9, 2007, Regan died when her vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq , the Pentagon said in a statement. The young man was carrying out his second mission in the Arab country. The soldier had promised his girlfriend that in 2008, on their return home, they would marry.

Regan was born on June 27, 1980 in Manhasset, New York. He was a virtuous young man: a great athlete and scholar, he got a scholarship from the prestigious Duke University in North Carolina, where he graduated as an economist . When he had been offered another scholarship to study law, he preferred to serve his country and entered the army.

Regan, who died at age 26, became a sergeant and was part of the third 75th Ranger Regiment Battalion . He spent two years in Afghanistan and another two in Iraq. Thanks to his services, he won a bronze star and a Purple Heart.

“He said, ‘If I don’t do it, who will?'” Said his fiancee Mary, who was a medical student at Emory University at the time . “He recognized it as an option and he couldn’t not do it,” he added.

He was “the best friend of all,” said his sister Michaela in 2007, at the burial ceremony attended by hundreds of people.

Regan was due to finish her service in February 2008. The plan of the soldier and his girlfriend was to marry in March of that year. Then they would move to Chicago, where they would raise a family and where he had plans to work as a university teacher.

Jimmy had the opportunity to go to law school, work for financial companies in New York, but he chose to serve his country and protect the freedom that we hold dear in the United States,” said one of his friends on the day of his funeral.