Exhibitions: WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath

IN CONVERSATION

Our visitors respond to this 30-second video.

  • What is the most valuable advice you can give to a young service member?

    — James Corcoran

    Know well a primary datum: The PRIMARY principle of existence is SURVIVE. Couple this with knowing your goals for that which you are asked to do and believe in, and then SURVIVE. Serving another and others in a just cause is an honor. Be it always.

  • What are you most afraid of upon entering a war?

    — Rachel

    Truth is I did not THINK much upon entering ‘war’, though in the very back of my mind I - in simplest terms - wanted to SURVIVE. With the training you are given, and as a kid holding and firing a b b gun, you’re now issued a real rifle and your training is to hit something. I did not think I was firing at a real person – just a target in target practice. NOTHING prepares you for actual war and all that you can imagine which goes on in ‘action’. Take all that you have seen in a war movie, with exploding bombs and people shooting and others being hit, and all the thunderous sounds of cannon, rifle fire, and add blinding white lights of explosions going off around you – add the ground you were standing on now like a trampoline and you’re bouncing up and down; your body thrown every which way, and your prayers racing through your mind (PLEASE STOP, I DO NOT WANT TO DIE) and it continues and you believe in NOTHING any longer.

    NOW, I would be most afraid of that which I’ve written and the multitude of insanities that can come to be instantly, and you simply feel ‘I am a good person, and I do not want to die’, and the enemy inflicting this upon you does not care for you at all.

  • What was the longest you were in the field without sleeping and how did you keep going?

    — Marcello

    2 days was all. Was Christmas Eve of ‘67 and on perimeter guard duty thinking of back home and Christmas’ past. Thinking of it so pitch black night there and looking up at sky, and wondering how it is Christmas eve, and feeling like nothing would harm me as after all – IT’S CHRISTMAS EVE and even the enemy knows this and they would not dishonor this holiday by fighting.

    I was shocked out of my daydreaming to see the sky light up before me and hear the rattle of small arms fire and machine guns in the village close by. Then the base camp sirens went off loudly and all hell was about to break loose as we were notified by screaming phones (portable battery-operated) of an attack in the village.

    This was the longest night of my life as each minute held some pending doom of an attack in the jungle night.

    I wondered who was out there receiving and giving the gun fire, and could only think how absolutely insane war is, and that there are no ‘rules’ to play by other than SURVIVE.

  • As a veteran do you find it worth it for governments to avoid going into wars. If so why.

    — Ley

    Yes, yes and a thousand times YES. Our elected officials have been voted into post by ‘we the people’ We elect them because we feel they have fine communication and sanity skill sets – that they have –reasoning powers’ and by nature of being our government representative – that they have MINE and YOUR well-being in mind and at the top of their list always. When the vocalized communication stops and is continued by the communication of bullets – that elected official has failed in some way to his sworn duty to protect one and all. I understand that “Freedom in NOT Free’, and insane leaders and people exist who wish us harm, and at times the best way to deal them is to combat their insanities being thrust upon you – BUT that is the very last resort in my book.

  • Upon being drafted into the army, what were the first thoughts running through your head?

    — Alison

    My immediate thought was WILL I QUALIFY? There are all sorts of tests, both mental, and physical that you undergo to qualify to become a soldier. I wanted to ‘make it’ and belong to this cycle in my life of serving. You simply want to ‘fit in’ be a member of the group, and be like everyone else – and thus not an outcast. It was grueling work to become a soldier, and I was proud to qualify and serve with thoughts of how my family and friends would view me as a soldier, but most of all how I would view me in this new part of my life.