I hadn't thought too much about wars, the consequences, the numbers. I was detached from them, being born in-between most active major conflicts. I had seen the movies, read about the horrific events in books, seen the photo's ... to the point where I became numb.
Then the traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial came to my home town.
As a budding photography enthusiast, I grabbed my camera on the way to work, with the expectation of catching some images of this exciting event. I arrived early in the morning, there were dozens milling around. I didn't say a word, because I could not speak.
The lens cap stayed on, the trigger finger never flinched on my camera. I walked around in the morning dew, felt the sun on my back and read the names, so many names.
The experience was overwhelming. The magnitude of the wall, the veterans crying, relatives leaving flowers and notes for those long passed. I left the first day without a photo, and I repeated the event the next day. No pictures, only more emotions too complex to describe.
I eventually came back, late at night, to attempt to capture this larger than life visitor to our little town. The images captured I was able to share with those who helped get this moving monument here, and at a ceremony for the burial of artifacts left at the wall, held a year later.
The most moving photo's I feel, are the ones I did not take, on the first days I visited this wall. The magnitude of this relatively small conflict gave me a better respect for all of the conflicts held, and a deep gratitude for our active service people and veterans of all ages.
Please use memorial day for what it is. Attend a service dedicated to the veterans. Say a prayer of thanks, for those who served.
For the POW's