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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.

*****

 

VFW 2505 "Buddy" Poppy

“Buddy” Poppy from VFW 2505

Bus Stop "Buddy" Poppy

“Buddy” Poppy Bus Stop

Korea and World War II

Korea and World War II

In Honor of America's Prisoners of War

P.O.W.

In Formation

In Formation

Classic Packard

Classic Packard

God Bless Vietnam Veterans

God Bless Vietnam Veterans

Battle of the Buldge (Forever Thankful)

Battle of the Buldge (Forever Thankful)

"Twinkle" Observes

“Twinkle” Observes

Generations

Generations

"Buddy" Poppy, Worn in Honor of Veteran's Day

“Buddy” Poppy, Worn in Honor of Veteran’s Day

 

11 Comments

  1. Phenomenal. The photos, the story, the writing….

    • Thank you Stephanie! It’s so great to get perspective from a fellow Columbus and Ohio resident who experiences the dynamics of the election in our state and appreciates the community that we live in.

  2. Wonderful, Nicholas!

    • Thank you so much Jen! This was an instance when I didn’t set out to shoot the occasion but the energy and dynamics were impossible to ignore and relay as a story.

  3. Fabulous photo essay. Thank you for posting it.

    • Thank you for your time to check out and comment on my article, Gary! This was a joy to capture!

  4. In the end, people come together and remember what is most important. I can feel the sentiment and I especially love the “Battle of the Bulge” image – his grin is priceless.
    thank you for sharing, Nicholas!

    • I always value your input B! “Twinkle” is a remarkable human being and American. My brief time observing and capturing him, and then eventually talking to him was special.

  5. A country can be so divided on so many levels, however humanity always brings them back together. You’ve conveyed what I feel has happen here in the uk too, veterans of old meeting those of current, survivors and widows. Everyone coming together for the common good. Wonderful piece Nicholas, just wonderful :-)

    • Your points are very relevant to what I was trying to communicate and share, Paula. It’s interesting to know similar dynamics exist in the UK concerning veterans of all ages and the people in their lives. America is presented divided especially when it comes to political views, but sometimes I wonder just how severe it really is. Generally, I think people as proud to be Americans.

  6. What a wonderful day it was. Nicholas, your observations and feelings were similar to mine.

    You overwhelm me with your dedication and comments. Thanks

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