It was a day, just like any and all others days are in this God forsaken place; yet, God was all around us. There were many Gods, many interpretations of God, yet none were bringing love or peace. There were noises, loud noises, all around me. At times, piercing sounds would slice through the air; they were loud enough to burst an eardrum. There was never a truly quiet moment, noise was a constant companion. It was also an enemy, my enemy.
The constant barrage of blasting bullets and bombs caused many a sleepless night. There were children crying, parents screaming, and there were soldiers. They too made sounds, none of them good or comforting.
Then in a wink of an eye, it happened; I felt hot and sleepy. I had been standing, keeping watch. A muffled hum wised past my ear. I wondered, ‘what was that?’ I saw nothing. I felt a sensation; it was warm and wet. I looked down and then, I knew. Cold steel had entered my soft and supple flesh. It pierced through tissue, bone, and organs. Blood was flowing everywhere. I felt faint. I was hit!
There was shrapnel all about, on my clothes, on the ground, and in my body. Glass cut my throat, my hands, and my chest; the penetrations were deep. I could no longer look; I could no longer breathe. I fell into a deep, deep, sleep.
No photographs were taken or none were published. The press, and the President feared repercussions from my parents, friends, family, and from fellow citizens. They all wanted to be proud of their son [or daughter], their soldiers. Each wanted to remember me as I was. They wished for no words or photographs of war, at least not those of the “good guys” wounded or killed. They were only willing to see, hear, or read of death, when it was that of their enemies.
Saturday, May 21, 2005, the Los Angeles Times published a thoughtful piece titled, UNSEEN PICTURES, UNTOLD STORIES, by James Rainey. The subheading, “U.S. newspapers and magazines print few photos of American dead and wounded, a Times review finds. The reasons are many -- access, logistics, ethics -- but the result is an obscured view of the cost of war.”
Much of what I wrote in two earlier essays, SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, TENTATIVELY ©, and STILL TENTATIVE SUPPORT; PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE FALLEN © is addressed in this article. I found it a brilliant piece and thought that I would share it here with you.
While it may be true that, “a picture is worth a thousand words” I hope that my introduction will evoke some of what those unseen photographs might. My hope is that we will all consider the cost of war, not only in dollars, but also the cost of lost lives, limbs, and loved ones.
Here I offer an opportunity to view photographs and hear a report from the Los Angeles Times.
Please visit Operation Truth and view photographs taken by our troops in Iraq.