We unwittingly stumble into people’s private and most personal moments all the time. Sometimes they’re moments of heartbreak, like witnessing a couple’s heated argument on the sidewalk. Other times they’re full of joy, like witnessing a baby’s first steps at the park. Whatever the emotion, though, we’re often merely detached observers of these pivotal moments. Angila Golik’s story is quite the opposite.
Golik found herself at the scene of a romantic proposal in Washington D.C. earlier this month — one in which she suddenly became an active participant. On July 2, Golik — a high school teacher visiting the U.S. capital from Carson City, Nevada — was out for an evening stroll, taking photos of the D.C. monuments in their nighttime glory. She headed toward the Washington Monument, only to notice a peculiar scene in the middle of the rotunda of the War Memorial, the Today show reports. The normally crowded memorial was empty save for one couple, sharing a romantic moment. When suddenly, the man, dressed in an Air Force uniform, pulled out a ring.
What better photograph than a marriage proposal? Golik took her camera and zoomed in to capture the tender scene. The happy couple embraced as the woman seemingly accepted. “It was just too sweet!” Golik wrote on her Facebook. Thus launched a campaign to find the couple. The unofficial engagement photographer posted two of the photos she took on the social networking site, along with a message to spread the word, a reconnaissance mission that quickly went viral.
Speculation ran rampant about who they were and why they chose the War Memorial to propose. But Golik’s reason for wanting to locate the couple was much more humbling. “I’d like to give them their photos. That’s my only goal,” she said Tuesday on the Today show. “If it was me — because I was newly engaged at one time in my life — I would’ve loved to have pictures of my proposal.”
After a nearly two week search, coinciding with her Today show appearance, the couple was found. Though they’ve asked to stay anonymous, they released a prepared statement via Air Force Lt. Col. Ann Knabe. Indeed the two are getting married, but that evening wasn’t their first proposal. “[T]hey had become engaged two weeks prior to these photos,” Knabe said in a statement. “Instead, they were walking around several memorials to determine if one of them would make a good location for their wedding ceremony.”