Category Archives: Belgium

Story of the Month…

I’m excited to share with you some changes I’m made to my website. I think it’s important to share the stories I’ve received from veterans, care takers and more. I’ve been traveling around the world interviewing some amazing and special individuals. Please visit my website www.jodichampagne.com

I am no one special.. I’m just someone who believes it’s important to not only remember our countries past and the individuals that lived it. You can learn so much from so little if you just take the time. So I will do my part in sharing with you in my own way these amazing stories.

My first project Diminishing Generations is powerful, emotional and very personal as veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam talk about life in war-time as well as their return home. They have never had the opportunity or have never chosen to take the opportunity to share their stories and perspectives until now. I started this project because I feel we need to hear the stories from these veterans, whom we are losing more and more of everyday.

So here is a video I did right before I released the books. I felt it was needed because you don’t know what was happening behind the scenes. How emotional and impactful it was not only for me but for the veterans… So this is just a quick insight before the stories are told…

 

More to come with some amazing stories, as I continue to travel and see some amazing history to share..

Till next time 🙂

Jodi

Silent Heroes Of Our Past

This year has been a lot of traveling… Hence the reason why I haven’t posted… I wish I could say it was all vacation time… Well technically when you love what you do then it’s all a vacation… I love it all..

As I get more involved in my next project Allegiance: Our Heroes Not Forgotten. I feel like every time I turn around there is something more intriguing and amazing.. Well… I really don’t want to say amazing as that sounds more of a positive tone, but maybe dumfounded as that seems more subdued when it comes to war..

For me the interest isn’t in the act of war but the individuals that had to endure war. I seemed to have branched out as I learn more not only about the soldiers that fought but the individuals who had saved the civilians from becoming prisoners, tortured and even death not counting the unspeakable things that occurred… like Schindler’s List…

What I’ve seen so far and to some extent I am guilty, but I speak about the masses… Being Americans we have become so far removed from our history… Specially since it is gradually being removed from our schools… or just selective things being talked about.

What bothers me the most are the veterans being forgotten. Past, present and the future. If we don’t remember and appreciate the past veterans, take care of our present veterans there won’t be a future. Who would want to fight for a country who cherishes and looks up to the Kardashian’s than look up to and appreciate our veterans that continues to fight for their freedom.

My first project called Diminishing Generations was about capturing the real unfiltered stories of our veterans before it was too late. There are veterans that most of you know their stories, because they are famous like John McCain.  But you don’t know the story of David Rehmann whom was captured a year before McCain. So when McCain was captured he was put into David’s cell. You don’t know about him… All veterans stories are incredible and that’s why I capture them no matter what they did during war…

With my new project Allegiance: Our Heroes Not Forgotten is a little different… These are the stories of our soldiers that were killed and or missing in action during WWI and WWII in Belgium and the Netherlands.. How they are appreciated by the civilians “adopters” of those countries even today, 100 years later.. Those soldiers ARE not forgotten for their sacrifices.. and how their education is on the wars the American’s were involved with. It’s amazing what they do for our soldiers but yet embarrassing…

I will start blogging about my trip on the important locations of WWI and WWII in Belgium and Netherlands… The stories and images are amazing… You will defiantly learn more from being there than you will from any class…

The following video is a story of a veteran most would not know….. Just like a story I will tell later about Charles Lindbergh.

Till next time…

Jodi

 

 

veterans… Veterans… VETERANS!!!

Like most people, as I had grown I was trying to find my own way in life. I had gotten wrapped up in a family, career and the hustle and bustle of every day living. Then my father became ill and most of us know what happened with the Arizona V.A. I believe at that point I started opening my eyes more to the veterans…

I remember growing up knowing my father was in the US Navy. But being a girl (that’s not an excuse) never really thought to question him about it. Even if I did he wouldn’t talk about it… All I remember was him showing me a picture of his unit and being told only a couple survived. He was a landing craft driver.. The boats that drove up to the beaches in Normandy with the men (LCI).

As I’ve mentioned I’m sure many times that my project Diminishing Generations (DG) had become more than a professional project to me but a personal journey. Nothing can replace learning history first hand…. By the voices of the ones who’ve lived it…

It’s coming up on a year that I released these books on the USS Iowa… Since then I never stopped learning… As I move forward to gather more stories for Volume 2 of Diminishing Generations (DG) I had begun a new project. These new books will tie in with the WWII section of DG called Allegiance: Our Heroes Not Forgotten.

This new project had taken me to places I’ve never been before, such as Belgium, France, Netherlands and Germany. Talking about going full circle with history I felt I had accomplished that just by going to these countries our men fought and died not only in WWII but also in WWI. I was in aww when I had seen the original fox holes the veterans talked about in the DG-WWII book. Such an eerie feeling being there, standing in those dug out holes they call “Fox holes” and seeing the field the enemy was approaching on… Being where the Battle of the Bulge was fought… But the hardest time for me was standing on each of the beaches our men fought and died on in Normandy… Seeing the battle damage still there from bomb craters to blown up pill boxes… Nothing has been moved… The emotional feeling just being there and specially hearing the stories of what actually happened.. Americans are told over time how difficult it was for our men to fight on those beaches… You just don’t understand the magnitude of difficulty it REALLY was…. Seeing is much more heart wrenching than hearing about the obstacles our men faced that day in history.

Allegiance: Our heroes Not Forgotten will be about our veterans of WWII as well as WWI. They had fought and died and still remain in either Belgium or the Netherlands. Again, with WWI you will still see areas of war. The villagers still find the bodies of our soldiers as well as ammunition along with other war items.. Most Americans had forgotten about these soldiers that were not brought back home. But the people of Belgium and Netherlands have not forgotten. The people have adopted at least one soldier but most have more. They appreciate to this day the sacrifice our men had made for their country. So no one there will forget them…

This book is about our soldiers, the battles they fought, the adopters, and the families of the soldiers that were found, and much more… My goal is to have the WWI book completed by 2018 as it will be the 100 year anniversary of the war… But my ultimate goal is to have them both done… I’m on track for that now…

I will be heading back to Belgium in May of 2017 seeing my friends and meeting more… Most of all I will be seeing and learning even more of our history…

Veterans Day is coming soon…. Please take the time to thank a veteran for their service and sacrifices. BUT still thank a veteran even if it’s not a holiday…

** Enjoy the video as Patrick is an adopter of 2 soldiers in Belgium **

Thanks for following… 🙂

Jodi

 

 

 

 

 

New Site, New Project and Good News

I am very excited after several years I finally been able to get my new site up and running. I’m very proud to be able to show my work the way it’s supposed to be… Check out one of my favorites (Although, they are all my favorite) “Waiting on a Friend” a typology project.

I am proud to say I had received amazing news this week. My project/Books Diminishing Generations have been accepted as a permanent collection into The Library of Congress. So these veterans stories will now be available for all future generations to learn what war was really like. So happy I was able to do this for the veterans… I am continuing this mission…

For those who have read my books or know me personally understand I am an emotional person. I am not an author in a sense I don’t write novels (But who knows)… I actually call myself or shall I say my books “Hybrids”… They are much more than a photographic book but yet not a novel. You will always get a story told in a way as if you were with me on that journey. Because the stories I tell are real… I don’t elaborate I just tell it as I see, feel it or what I’m told. Which brings more of a humanistic approach to what I do. The projects I do are on everyday individuals that have done or gone through some amazing things. I am not politically correct as I am not a perfect writer but you certainly will feel what I have to say…

My new project “Allegiance: Our Heroes Not Forgotten” is completely different from all of my other work. This project is about WWI and WWII soldiers that were killed in the line of duty that has not been returned home. I started this journey not really understanding what I was going to learn, but I actually felt like I have been going through a time machine. I had learned first hand what our soldiers had done to save their country through the semblance of the landscape while in Belgium. I’ve seen what was left of cannons, shells from ammo, containers of the chemical bombs, and the damage that was done and still shows. I’ve stood on the grounds where some of the major battles took place in both WWI & WWII. Absolutely amazing and humbling… some areas a little eerie…

So each week I will talk about my first trip to Belgium, Holland and France while documenting for this project. I will share with you some amazing things I have learned or seen. But… also sharing with you information on the Volume 2 of the Diminishing Generations project.

So excited about these amazing stories that will be told…

Until next time…

Jodi