Hero Of Yesterday, Forgotten Today

DG POSTCARD-2 finalStarting a new project is never easy… It takes time to coordinate, arrange meetings, visiting places, and not counting money. When I decided last year to do this project “Diminishing Generations” I didn’t realize some other very important things to consider…

Some of you know that I had already published a documentary called Courage Under Wraps. Photographing that project I had to keep my emotions in check because I was dealing with a young boy that has a rare genetic disorder. I’ve been told it takes a certain type of person to be able to photograph horrific visuals with smells ect. So when I started my new project I thought no big deal because there is nothing horrible to see and photograph… Boy was I wrong…….

Let me start off by telling you I am collaborating with Jim Dailey of Digital Delta Design http://digitaldeltadesign.com. They will be the ones that will bring my project to shall we say “Life”. It’s a technology that will make this project powerful, emotional and very personal..

With that said… I post daily on the FB page of this project at https://www.facebook.com/diminishinggenerations. That will get you day-to-day information as to what is going on with the project or introducing Veterans from all theaters as well as pictures. So here I will sum up the different adventures….

I started with a few interviews here in California. I had 3 lined up one each day before I headed to my first traveling destination, Arizona… Did I mention I’m a photographer not a videographer 🙂 So because I’m not getting paid for this project I can’t hire one.. So I’ve been doing crash courses in not only taking the video but editing it as well… I think I’ve been doing a good job. 🙂 lol

So now I’m off to Arizona. Believe it or not I gave myself a travel day.. Then I started like a bat out of hell.. I scheduled 2 interviews a day, except the last 2 days then just one. But yes, I did schedule one the day I had to drive back.. Thank heavens I moved it up from 1 to 11am or I would have been home at the crack of dawn. Since I haven’t met the individuals, what I do is talk with them first, have them get to know me.. Get them to feel comfortable with me.. With doing that they tend to bring up small pieces of information that I remember so I can bring it up in the interview. Now the first day of interviews was “ok”. Don’t get me wrong… The things I’ve heard from a WWII women and a Korean vet would make your heart sink.. I thought this isn’t to bad but I think it was actually a warm-up for what’s to come….

As I had mentioned earlier about my previous book I could not show any emotions, any facial reactions, and most important no body reactions like throwing up… Because of course I don’t want to offend him.. He gets that enough in society… Without going into details because you will hear and see this information in the book. I will just briefly tell you a bit about my end of it…. Now keep in mind.. None of these individuals know each other… But what I’m going to tell you is the common feeling, statement that I’ve heard from each and every one of them…

I’m so proud, honored these individuals welcomed me into their homes… Told me their personal stories.. and shared their emotions.. What can I do… When they look at me and tell me they feel forgotten.. Here are individuals that are well decorated not because they lived in that era but because they fought hard in that era. They are your every day individuals.. They are not famous so you don’t know their stories. A person in boot camp is trained and prepared to protect our country.. You have weeks of boot camp so why not have weeks of debriefing on their welfare before sending them back out into society to fend for themselves. They are strong and passionate about how they feel… They would do it all over again because they feel so strongly about their country…

It’s one thing when you see something that is horrific because you can put yourself in a different place while making photographs. I told them no filter… I wasn’t prepared to handle hearing the horrific stories that I heard. Some just talked about it for the first time while others were remembering parts while thinking back. What can I do? They could be my father, mother, grandparent and even great grandparent. Hearing their stories I was so drawn in.. At some points I forgot I was taping as well as their child was listening intently as they have not heard parts of what was being told… But I didn’t expect raw emotions.. How can you hold back the tears after hearing the stories I’ve heard? Because I couldn’t.. I felt like a baby and just wanted to hold them.. Take their pain away… I wanted them to know I care…

The more and more I interviewed these amazing Veterans the more I knew I’m doing the right thing.. They are so thankful I am telling their stories…

Well, I’m still decompressing myself after the emotional trip to Arizona. Unlike my other book I think I will change this time and show my emotions so they know I hear them and feel their pain..

So come and follow my adventures with this project on FB.. As I always say.. I’m not a writer, I’m a photographer.. My images will speak for themselves…

Thank you for listening..

Jodi

4 thoughts on “Hero Of Yesterday, Forgotten Today

  1. Denise

    Bravo, Jodi! Volunteering with the aged Vets, I can tell you that there is more raw emotion from having these stories bottled up. I am so happy to see you on this project. I am sure that you will continue to be touched by them. You won’t be able to help yourself.

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  2. Crayton Morris

    Jodi, even though I just met you this past Sunday (July 20th) along with your “helper” Kelly, I/we feel we have know you for many years if not all our lives. And for you to listen to my military life and what I said about Vietnam was so great and it actually helped me mentally to say things that I don’t think I have ever said before. I spent a lot of hours going through my old military things and was a lot of fun and at times very sad! A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU BOTH!

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    1. jodichampagne Post author

      Oh thank you Crayton.. Same here.. That’s why I mentioned being adopted 🙂 I’m so lucky I can say you two are my life long friends 🙂 xoxo thank you for allowing me to share your story xoxo

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