In Honor of Veteran’s Day
The race for the White House was finally over. The nation, state of Ohio, and city of Columbus seemed to collectively exhale and move beyond the political tension that penetrated the American landscape. Whether the final outcome made one extremely happy or disappointed, an overriding sense of relief was overtly evident in streets of downtown Columbus immediately following the election. Life became contemplative and quiet, which was a sudden departure from the loud, confusing, and venomous energy that engulfed the media and airwaves.
Ohio, historically a key political battleground state, had taken the national spotlight as the Obama and Romney campaign practically lived in the state to pitch their agendas in the weeks prior to the November 6 deadline. The state’s industrious, multicultural urban centers and vast rural demographics ostensibly conflicted with each other in identifying what values and courses of action would best support the country.
What does it mean to be an American?
What will America look like 4 years from now?
For all of it’s faults and challenges, are Americans thankful for the opportunities that a free democratic society provides?
The Columbus Veteran’s Day parade, which took place on November 9th, 3 days after Barack Obama was declared the winner, transferred much of the anxiety associated with the election and an uncertain future into a tangible, genuine perspective. Positive emotions like pride, love, and appreciation flourished as VFW volunteers handed out “Buddy” Poppies at bus stops and street corners. Generational divides became apparitions as veterans and survivors of multiple wars and conflicts recollected their remarkable experiences; The Battle of the Bulge identified with Vietnam. An African-American mother whose son served in Iraq personally identified with an elderly widow who lost her husband in Korea. Social backgrounds and barriers seemingly disappeared as the diversity of America marched down High Street in the form of military personnel as well as spirited band members from local high schools.
The uninhibited acts of sturdy handshakes, smiles, hugs, and tears showcased an America that contradicts the divisiveness and vitriol that was portrayed during the election. To witness and capture the human interaction of the day offered hope, potential, and a glimpse into the sincerity of America.
My account and collection of photographs are especially dedicated to Rupert “Twinkle” Starr. He is a proud WWII veteran who saw action during the infamous Battle of the Bulge and survived internment as a prisoner of war under German control.
“Buddy” Poppy from VFW 2505
“Buddy” Poppy Bus Stop
Korea and World War II
God Bless Vietnam Veterans
Battle of the Buldge (Forever Thankful)
“Buddy” Poppy, Worn in Honor of Veteran’s Day