A surgeon rests after a performing a successful heart transplant operation that lasted 23 hours. His assistant sleeps in the right corner.
The inside of an Auschwitz gas chamber shows scratches from struggling victims of the Holocaust.
A firefighter pauses to give water to a thirsty koala in 2009, when the devastating Black Saturday bushfires rolled through Victoria, Australia, killing 173 people.
Eight-year-old Christian Golczynski accepts the American flag for his father, who was shot during his second tour in Iraq, just weeks before he was to return home.
An embracing couple found in the rubble of a collapsed factory in Bangladesh.
Leao sits for a second consecutive day at the grave of his owner, who died in a devastating landslide in Rio de Janiero.
After serving in Iraq for seven months, Terri Gurrola is finally reunited with her daughter.
An Afghan offers tea to a thirsty soldier.
A resident of Cuttack City, India, saves three kittens during the treacherous floods of 2011.
A man falling from the World Trade Center on 9/11.
A young man moments after learning that his brother was killed.
A Russian solider plays an abandoned piano in Chechnya in 1994, during the First Chechen War.
A German World War II prisoner is reunited with his daughter after being released by the Soviet Union. The girl had not seen her father since she was one year old.
A man embraces his dog after finding her alive inside the remains of his Alabama home, which was hit by a tornado in March 2012.
A POW stands unflinchingly before SS leader Heinrich Himmler during a camp inspection. Some identify the prisoner as British soldier Horace Greasley, who was later transferred to a camp annexed to Auschwitz—from which he repeatedly escaped to meet a girl he'd fallen in love with.
Five-year-old Tanisha Blevin holds the hand of Nita LaGarde, 105, during the evacuation after Hurricane Katrina.
Harold Whittles hears for the first time in his life after a doctor fits him with a hearing aid.
Brazilian violinist Diego Frazão Torquato weeps as he plays at the funeral of John Evandro da Silva, the teacher who introduced him to music, offering it as an escape from poverty.
Anti-war activist Jane Rose Kasmir, 17, holds a flower above a guard's bayonet during the 1967 March on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War.
A Russian soldier prays before the Battle of Kursk in July 1943.
Five-year-old Brayden Denton was a superhero superfan who struggled courageously an agressive form of brain cancer, but he succumbed to the disease in 2014 after 30 rounds of radiation treatment. Here, Brayden's pallbearers pay their final respects dressed as the heroes who inspired him to stay strong.
A decorated veteran revisits a tank once assigned to him, which is now on display as a World War II memorial.
Phyllis Siegel, 76, embraces her new spouse, Connie Kopelev, 84, after they became the first same-sex couple to get legally married at the Manhattan City Clerk's office in 2011. Kopelev arrived in a wheelchair but stood with a walker during the ceremony. The couple had been together 23 years before their marriage.
In 2013, the city of San Francisco honored Miles Scott's dream of working with Batman for the day. Sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Miles—while bravely battling lymphoblastic leukemia—saved a damsel in distress, worked with President Obama and earned the key to the city during his day-long reign. Here, Miles finishes a hard day's work with his beloved idol.
Here, a woman finds a new way to dine alone—together. With a cherished photo of her late husband on hand, she enjoys her tribute in an intimate booth. "My girlfriend works here," the original poster captioned the image. "This woman's husband passed away, but she still has lunch with him every day."
After the Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Michael Knaapen and John Becker pause for an emotional celebration. Married seven years earlier in Toronto, they have been anxiously awaiting a policy change in the U.S. "Made with pride," their sign reads..
Kentucky police dog Figo pays his respects to partner Jason Ellis, a 33-years-old officer killed in an ambush five days earlier. "Figo was almost giving him that final hug goodbye. I think that picture brought more tears than anything," Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin told the Daily News in 2013.
A waiter displays a generous tip from grieving parents. "In memory of our son Joel," the note they wrote on the receipt reads. "He brightened everyone's day—may this brighten yours."
In 2013, 77-year-old Larry Swilling took to the streets with this heart-wrenching sandwich board. Swilling's wife, Jimmy Sue, was born with one kidney, which later proved insufficient after the trauma of childbirth. "I'm trying," Larry told CBS of his efforts. "I had to do something."Shortly after his quest went viral, a kidney donor for Jimmy Sue came forward.
This photo by Matej Peljahn captures a moment of freedom for 12-year-old Luka, a devoted Lakers fan who was born with muscular dystrophy and sidelined due to his illness. Here, with Peljahn s help, Luka is seen shooting his very first basket.
Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor feeds a two-week-old kitten between battles in Korea in 1952. The kitten—named "Miss Hap"—was orphaned when her mother was killed during a mortar attack.
Moments after Arden McMath collapsed on the track during a 3,200-meter race, her competitor Meghan Vogel stops to help the fallen runner up and toward the finish line.
Schoep is cradled by his owner in the waters of Lake Superior, giving the 19-year-old dog relief from his debilitating arthritis and allowing him to sleep, however briefly, in comfort.
After an earthquake in Sichuan, China, a survivor uncovers a family photo album. Below him are the remains of what once was his home. The 2008 quake measured 8.0 and killed nearly 70,000 people.
At the Hospital Infantil Sabara in Sao Paolo, Brazil, a window cleaner dressed as Superman waves to two-year-old Joao Bertola and his father. Look closely and see how their hands connect through the glass. A fellow window washer—dressed as Captain America—later surfaced for an equally touching photo op.
After Brown v. Board of Education overturned educational segregation, Dorothy Counts joined the student body of (the previously all-white) Harry Harding High School. Here, some less-than-thrilled classmates harass Dorothy as she quietly keeps to herself on a walk to school. After only 4 days, Dorothy heartbreakingly withdrew from the school.
Here, a polar bear dreams of its natural habitat while trapped in the confines of a city zoo. Take a look at how intently the animal examines what appears to be a distant iceberg. Additional images also feature and adjoining giraffe who tries to snack on the edges of a greenery mural.
After accidentally striking and killing a pedestrian, the driver photographed here deals with anguish on the side of the road. The small stature of the body bag have many believing that the victim was most likely a small child. Notice how close the man sits to the crime scene—perhaps to fully process the instant devastation of tragedy.
In an act of desperation, a man uses the suicide hotline located on the Golden Gate Bridge. Sadly, this moment of clarity is far less common than one might think. From 1937 to 2012, an estimated 1600 victims were uncovered from the bay after jumping from the very same spot.
This three-part series captures the evolutionary relationship of one father and son. Notice the simple intimacy of the two men hand-in-hand—and the son's (remarkable) growth from the first to the second photographs. Even the family dog can't help but celebrate such a stunning display of transcendent love.
A husband reminisces about his late wife while the photographer holds up a snapshot of the duo on the very same bench. Though we, too, felt instinctual sadness, there is also something uplifting about a tangible space to revisit timeless love. For that reason alone, we encourage twice the tears.
In a touching act of resilience, a man teaches his girlfriend the alphabet as she struggles with severe memory loss. An extra sweet touch? The "study buddy" coffee break they work into the session.
Here, Neil Armstrong gets emotional after his first—and man's first—walk on the moon. Take a peek at how tears well from pure amazement—and maybe from the toasty spacesuit. "It was really, really hot on the moon," he later stated. "200 degrees Fahrenheit."
A victim of Sanfilippo syndrome, Lucas Hembree gives his service dog Juno some candid affection—and the love doesn't stop there. Lucas' father, a former law enforcement officer, trained Juno himself, after Lucas was labeled as a poor candidate for a service animal. Tissue, anyone?
As a sudden death shocks a Chinese train station, a monk restores peace with one final prayer for the departed. The detail that gets us every time? The incredible bond he shares in holding the victim's hand.
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