Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dress Blues | Vietnam | Summer Heat | Chilies

Not a lot of people know what really happened in the Vietnam War, but I know someone who does. She is a woman who has served her country in Vietnam, and to me he is the biggest hero I have ever met. Recently I was asked to help complete a task on this seniors bucket list. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to oblige. I was to go to Austin Texas and shoots this tremendous soldier in her dress blues. 
It was an opportunity that I will never forget.

A few years back, there was an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum. It was on the Vietnam War. There were many photos, plaques and statues to commemorate the fallen soldiers but one picture was more important to me than others. It was a photo of a young nurse who must have been pretty extraordinary to have been chosen to hang on the wall of this museum. It was the woman I was going to shoot. She was strong, brace, experienced, driven and focused. And she still is.

So many times we think of women as being the weaker sex, or not able to do the same things that a man can. Clearly this woman proved everyone wrong. When it comes to physical strength, passion, integrity, this woman of history beats out many today. 

Legend has it and I confirmed this to be true, one scorching hot summer, the medical staff ran out of anesthesia fluid in that American tent buried deep in the arm pit of Vietnam. Rather than let soldiers die who came in and needed surgery immediately, this nurse decided to buy needed supplies on her own credit. I found this to be extraordinary. Thousands of dollars went on this US soldier's credit card, so that supplies could be shipped to Vietnam for our US soldiers to survive. It's almost unbelievable. But it's not.

I think it's safe to say that's going above and beyond the call of duty. The ironic thing is when she was filing her taxes post war, the IRS would not let her write off the price of the medical supplies she bought on credit. My next sentence would be to curse here but I'm not. I'm taking the high road in this article out of respect.

I arrived in Austin and we immediately went to Chilies. Apparently the Buffalo Chicken salad is one of her favorites. Everyone knew this larger than life lady and greeted her. S
he was a celebrity. Some things never change. 

We scouted out where we would be shooting the next day. Different memorials in Austin, the capital, museums and beautiful buildings. We had it all set. The next day she would be getting her makeup done at the MAC makeup center. The woman who are originally had hired somehow wasn't there. I was pissed. Everything needed to be perfect for this.

Out came a very young man who didn't even look 18. I judged him. I thought my God I didn't fly all this way to have some kid do makeup for our epic shoot! But I swallowed my pride and shut my mouth for once and was blown away. Usually it's the older people who are discriminated against and are prejudged. This time it was me judging a young man, who clearly was talented beyond his years. He nailed the look. From the red lips to the the smokey eyes, he even filled in the eyebrows making them absolutely exquisite. We were ready to go.

The day resembled that closely to probably one of the days in Vietnam. It was disgustingly humid, hot and sticky. But I had flown out, and we had a job to do. There were pictures that needed to be taken to commemorate a mark in time that had now fast forwarded just a bit. With grace, honor and just a little age. :-)

Most artists, entertainers and musicians  would never have made it in this weather. Especially in full fledged authentic dress blues. This anesthesiologist never said a word, not one single complaint. I'm sure she knew there was a salad at Chili's waiting for her. I got a glimpse at how this woman probably operated in that war. I often heard stories of her friends and the other soldiers. I have found an even new found respect for these men and women who have served our country. They truly are our heroes.

We did well. But one of the places we were supposed to shoot in would not allow me to bring in my gear. This didn't sit well with Pat. Nor with me. Some s*** hit the fan. 
I'll just leave it at that. 

We were allowed in, but without my flash. So I brought it anyway. Did you expect anything else? When guards were not looking I did what needed to be done. And we got some amazing photographs. How could we not? My subject was amazing. 

Many people are alive today because of what the men and women serving in Vietnam did for us. They gave their lives so that we might still enjoy our freedom today. Nothing is free people. Remember that. Remember some of the people who are in your family, might have been one of those people who received so complimentary medical supplies and we're kept alive by fluid purchased by Pat. Think about it. Be grateful. I sure am.

Don't let a day go by where you don't thank a service person that you see. Go out of your way and make it known how much you appreciate them. You don't need to agree with our government, politics, or even their beliefs. 

Because they do a job, United buy one flag and one country. And they are amazing. Thank you to all of our US military from the bottom of our hearts, for all that you have done and all that you continue to do. May God be with you always.

@UsMilitary #Vietnam @Airforce @Army @Navy @Us_NavySeals @USMC @Chilies @GoldyKnows @GoldyLocksRocks

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