Memorial Day, Remembering

Sgt. Jason Ross by artist Victor JuhaszMichael D. Fay of the New York Times keeps faith…

We introduce ourselves simply. We’re war artists and have been out in the fight multiple times with you guys; living under the same conditions and capturing your combat experiences in art. We then give them our basic vision of why we’re here: You guys are still in the fight and what you do every day to recover and make the absolute best of your new reality is important to your fellow Americans. The wounded Marines get it.

The three Marines we’ll draw over these two days will allow us to observe and record them in what most would consider the worst possible conditions. One is paralyzed from the waist down; one has had 30 surgeries in the last nine weeks to put his face back together; and one has lost both legs mid-thigh and his right hand is virtually unusable. But, we know these Marines are consummate warriors, and we watch them attacking their disabilities and wounds with the same dogged determination they used every day humping the hills and fields of Afghanistan.

It’s a reminder that every day of the war in Afghanistan, every day our soldiers are in harm’s way anywhere in the world, carries a cost that they and their families will live with for the rest of their lives. Once a war is started, there is no telling the outcome or the consequences. We were too long getting our troops out of Iraq, too long in Afghanistan. May each Memorial Day remind us of the sacrifices of our veterans, and let us never again enter a war of choice.

The Joe Bonham Project is a year-and-a-half-old group dedicated to documenting the experiences of wounded service members. see the artist’s work here.

The drawing above is of Sgt.Jason Ross by artist Victor Juhasz.

3 thoughts on “Memorial Day, Remembering

  1. Whether one agrees with a war or not,the people who carry the burden of it as soldiers,sailors,marines,and airmen should not be judged in the context of politics-they gave the United States a blank check on their lives-remember that.
    Apparently Chris Hayes of MSNBC had a problem with that and couldn’t bring himeself to call our war dead “heroes”-what a pusillanimous little snotrag he is.A product of Brown and an editor at The Nation-what a surprise.
    And just to be clear-I don’t like wars of choice(Iraq)either.

    1. Joe, I respect that some put their lives, health and happiness on the line while most of us are asked to give much less. I don’t want us to forget that our ‘volunteer army’ is carrying the burden.
      I do think that the word ‘hero’ can be a way of saying ‘they’re not regular like us.’ I don’t care for the cliche of a nurse as ‘angel’. It’s like you don’t have feelings or get scared for grossed out like everyone else. I think piety can be a cheap substitute for accountability. Someone on facebook posted that we should never see the words, ‘homeless’ and ‘veteran’ together.
      As someone who opposes violence unless it is immediate self defense or defense of another, the best I can do is support services for veterans and their families and communities.
      Not everyone who wears a flag pin and speechifies about ‘heroes’ is a friend of veterans.

  2. Yeah-like chickenhawks who avoided it-however,this doesn’t give Hayes a pass for his stupid remark-it was intended to hurt people in his smarmy way-don’t doubt that for a second.He went out of his way to minimze people who lost it all for “good”or “bad” wars.
    Let me tell you this-when you’re there politics doesn’t mean sh*t-you’re way too concentrated on what’s happening in the moment.
    I kinda get your dislike for cliches,but nurses can be angels and soldiers can be heroes,and of course they are all regular people in the end-but it just pissed me(and many,many others )off to no end to get all smartmouth.He probably should avoid public places in the near term.

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