Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why My Mother Cried.....

As I have written before, my family would make a trip to the Cemetery of the Pacific on Memorial Day.  There was much talk of those who had fallen -- during World War II, Korea and later Vietnam.

We would walk through the headstones and we would read the inscriptions.  In those days, it was not uncommon to see family members at the headstones.

One year, we came across Ernie Pyle's headstone.  When I looked at my Mother, it was just in time to see her stop a tear.  I asked her why the tear.  She told me that Ernie Pyle had painted the pictures of World War II for her and others who were waiting at home for friends and family to return.  Ernie Pyle was their source of information, their source of understanding.  War journalists affect our lives whether or not we know their names.

On April 20, 2011, I finally understood her sadness when the deaths of photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were reported.  These two men had painted the pictures of so many modern day conflicts for me.  Chris and Tim were both 41 years old - Ernie was 45 --- all had their lives cut short sending the story of war home to us.  All three were killed while covering war.  All three were killed in April.  All three gave the world insight into something most of us can not comprehend.  These were remarkable men.  We are better for having had them here -- a bright light has gone out at their passing.

But, there are more bright lights out there - more who will send back the stories and images of our world.  We are fortunate to have lived and to continue to live in the world with them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tim Hetherington ~ A Life of Images

Tim Hetherington

1970 - April 20, 2011

Photojournalist, Cinematographer

When the news came on Tuesday, April 20, that Tim Hetherington had been killed in Misrata, Libya, my thoughts turned immediately to my friend who was his friend.... this was personal.  I never met Tim.  But, I felt I knew him through her.  This is the first piece she wrote that morning:  Tim Hetherington, Killed.  

She has also shared some funny stories!  It seems that Tim was puzzled by our pancake houses and eating breakfast at night - he ordered a hamburger from a place that probably made the worst hamburger ever!  In honor of Tim, next time you are stopping for breakfast at night, have a hamburger and think of Tim!

The military community came to think of Tim as their own -- he wrote the book Infidel and directed the movie Restrepo.  He lived beside our warriors and told their stories.  In a way, we all felt we knew him, even though we didn't.

Tim covered the globe - covered the most difficult and dramatic events of war and human suffering.  He captured in moving photographs and film the stories of man.  At age 41, his voice was stopped in the bloody madness that is Libya.  He left a family and a fiancee.  He left people grieving who loved him and people who had never met him.

You can visit his web site.  You can read any number of articles if you Google his name.  You can read his books.  You can watch his films.  But, never again, will Tim shine light on the world in the magical way that led us to believe that we knew him and that he had let us glimpse into a world we might otherwise never see.

I leave you with his latest work - Diary.

Diary (2010) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chris Hondros ~ A Remarkable Life

Chris Hondros
March 14, 1970 - April 20, 2011

Killed in Libya

I knew of Chris Hondros not by name, but by his images.  As I went through his work on his site today, I saw so many photos that I remember.  His vision had meaning.  There are photos from Kosovo, Nigeria, Cuba, Afghanistan, Iraq --- photos that were beamed into my life on television and in hard copy in newspapers and magazines.  And, of course, there are the photos of Liberia and the child warriors fighting there.  And, there are the very special pictures from the Marine 4th LAR in Afghanistan.

With the news of Chris' death, I revisited the photographs and the history.  I read stories about him that I never knew.  The photo of the exuberant Liberian at war that became so famous led to the story of Chris' return to Liberia, finding the soldier and helping him to get an education.  You can see the picture and read the story in Chris' own words.... Me and Joseph Duo.

A year ago when the Marine 4th LAR was in Afghanistan he sent these remarkable images back.
I knew family members who caught a moment of the lives of their loved ones in his pictures.

This was a man with an eye that gave us images that told more about the event than words ever could.

I encourage you to visit his web page.  How little we would know of the world if it were not for men like Chris Hondros.  Thank you for all you gave to the world, Chris.  You touched lives of people like me that you never knew.

And, finally, a story of Chris coming home - take tissue to read this one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photojournalist Chris Hondros Wounded in Libya

The brilliant photojournalist, Chris Hondros, has been reported critically injured in Misrata, Libya.
Earlier reports listed him as killed.  The fog of war leaves much speculation.

A year ago, he was photographing the Marines 4th LAR in Afghanistan.

He has covered Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Liberia, The West Bank, Kashmir, Cuba, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Angola, Macedonia/Albania, Kosovo.....

Chris has provided a vision of the worst conflicts in modern history.  My prayers are with him and his family and his friends at this time.

As was reported and then retracted, Chris was killed today in Misrata, Libya.
Getty Images has confirmed his death.
May you walk with God, Chris.  And, my personal gratitude for your time with the 4th LAR - I will never forget the day you posted the picture of my friend's son.