Memorial Day Time Now

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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.

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2 Comments on “Memorial Day Time Now”

  1. Lesa Says:

    I taught high school English to PFC Jason Watson. He was a sweet, compassionate young man, and his death still saddens me terribly. He was the first person to make my mom laugh after Hurricane Katrina. I’ll never forget him. Thank you for honoring Jason and other service members.

    • Peter Molin Says:

      Lesa: Thank you for remembering, I’m sure that as one of his teachers you knew the best, most thoughtful side of Jason and your impact on him was huge.

      Jason Watson was a 101st Airborne Division soldier stationed on Camp Clark, Khowst, Afghanistan while I commanded the compound and advisor team there. He was not in my direct chain-of-command, but it was a small place and I knew at least by sight all the personnel stationed there. In February 2009, Specialists Watson and Peter Courcy were killed by a suicide bomber in the vicinity of FOB Salerno on a route we all traveled frequently. It was the first time during my tour that Camp Clark was touched by death and the event brought the deadliness of the war home to all of us. RIP Specialists Jason Watson and Peter Courcy.


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