Rendering respect for bravery and sacrifice and aiding our memory of the military members who embody them are arguably the most important functions of war artistry. Fallen soldier ceremonies, military funerals, public memorials, and national days of remembrance are shot through with artistic arrangements of space, time, sound, experience, idea, emotion, and memory, and all the better for it. Those whom they honor and those who pay their respect deserve it and demand it.
I’m very interested in the aesthetics (and politics) of memorialization and remembrance, and will write about these subjects in posts to come. Today, though, let’s just pay tribute to soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Above are pictures taken at a fallen soldier ceremony held at Camp Clark, Afghanistan, in October 2009. The ceremony honors SSG Alex French, a member of the Georgia National Guard who was killed by a suicide bomber while on patrol in Khowst province. The photographer was Senior Airman Evelyn Chavez, a member of an Air Force public affairs detachment covering the ceremony.
In memoriam 1SG John Blair, SFC Kevin Dupont, SSG Alex French, CPL Peter Courcy, and PFC Jason Watson, all Camp Clark, Afghanistan, soldiers with whom I lived and fought. RIP many other friends American and Afghan, former students, and all those killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.