These 2 gentlemen came to me a while back and I thought of them recently as Pearl Harbor Day approaches this weekend.
They came in because they were starting a business together. They already had it up and running, but were in the process of defining their website and wanted to have faces to put with their company. Both are ex-military and have started a business helping to show individuals and companies the best way to protect themselves and their companies. As we sat down to review the images on the in studio monitor, the one guy said, “what about my scar?” I said, “what scar?” You see, when a person comes into be photographed, I always assess facial features, body movements and make sure to catch any odd blemish that may have come up at the last minute. (only happens when you are doing something important, right?) So, when a person has a scar, I notice it, then dismiss it. It is part of the person. Unless they cut themselves shaving that morning, I never really notice it again, because it is usually something that is just a part of that person. So after he asked, I showed him what we could do with retouching, and yes, we could remove it completely, but I suggested not to do that. If someone saw the scar when meeting him and had not seen it on the images on the website, it would immediately be a topic of conversation, like he had just gotten it. But it is in reality a battle scar. And he told me the story. He was in the …ahem…porta-potty, when a missile strike came in. His helmet was off as he came out and he couldn’t put it on fast enough. You see, apparently, when a mortar comes in, by the time you hear it, it’s too late. It hit right near him and a piece of shrapnel partially sheared off his scalp. His buddies later said it was as if he had been scalped like in an old western. With blood dripping down his face, he went to the medics and they slapped the flap back on and did a real quick wrapping of his head to keep it in place. They checked his ears to see if they were leaking fluid – this signals a concussion? and no fluid. So he slapped back on his helmet over the wound and ran to the truck with his buddies and took his position. He heard someone saying “all the wounded get down”, and when he didn’t respond, they told him “that’s you!”. After getting out of the thick of things, and getting to where he could get real medical attention, they stapled the skin back on!
Since I have never been in the military and not having any real close friends or family that had been in the military seeing action, (my dad served in the Army for two years stateside and my uncle served in the Navy during peacetime) it was a real eye opener for me. I have nothing but respect for these young men and women who literally sacrifice their lives, their time and all the comforts of home to give me and those around me the freedom to live as I do. So, today, I say thank you. I cannot say it enough or with enough energy to convey my gratitude. So…thank you. Whether you have visible scars or invisible scars, thank you for making the sacrifice. Thank you for enduring the mud, and the dirt, and the heat and the cold and the hours of boredom and the hours of battle. I cannot comprehend what a toll this takes. Thank you.