THE PRESIDENT IN SECTION 60…. If you haven’t already read it, I’d encourage folks to check out a piece in New York Daily News today from James Gordon Meek, a reporter who spent some time yesterday in a personal capacity at Arlington National Cemetery, when he unexpectedly ran into the president.

Meek was visiting the grave of a friend who’d died in Iraq in a part of the cemetery labeled “Section 60,” which is where many fallen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried. President Obama attended a service at the Tomb of the Unknowns, laying a wreath, but Obama also made an unscheduled stop at Section 60 to visit with friends and family members.

“What I got was an unexpected look into the eyes of a man who intertwined his roles as commander in chief and consoler in chief on a solemn day filled with remembrance and respect for sacrifices made — and sacrifices yet to be made,” Meek wrote. “I’m sure the cynics will assume this was just another Obama photo op. If they’d been standing in my boots looking him in the eye, they would have surely choked on their bile. His presence in Section 60 convinced me that he now carries the heavy burden of command.”

Meek also appeared on MSNBC this morning to talk about his experience. “[Obama] didn’t have to go to Section 60,” Meek noted. “There was no White House aide who came along and screened the people who were standing there…. This guy, the president, could have gotten yelled at by a widow — anything could have happened — and it would have been on full display in front of the press pool that travels with him.”

It’s a moving piece. Take a look.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.