HEROES ALL: America’s Veterans of WWII and Korea
On the Fourth of July 2001, I began traveling around the
country meeting and photographing veterans for HEROES ALL. The
most compelling of over 100 black-and-white portraits, and
the accompanying interviews, are now ready for publication.
Our 23 million patriots—our veterans of World War
II and Korea—are rarely recognized other than on Memorial
Day and Veterans Day. Yet these men and women are as patriotic
as those who founded this nation. They left behind their
quiet lives to take up the fight for freedom. They sacrificed
to protect the American way of life, some dying, some bleeding
many miles from home. Some still carry the scars. They are
My own father’s reluctance to discuss his experiences
prevented any meaningful conversations between us about the
war and about those important years of his life. Fortunately,
I learned other men and women were willing to talk with me.
Some were flattered I showed interest in them and in an older
generation. Others, long silent for their own reasons, felt
the time was right for their stories to be told, listened
to, and perhaps committed to history. I now have a hundred
fathers—and mothers. The glimpses of their young lives
that they choose to share with me became windows onto my
own youth and upbringing. Veterans told me, “I
have talked more with you about this than I ever did with
my wife or kids.” Why? “Because you
While Americans may be ignorant
of geography and history, our roots—where we came from—intrigue us. Our
parents and grandparents are the first step toward this discovery.
As they pass, so do our personal histories and the history
of the first half of the Twentieth Century: the years of
the Great Depression, World War, Holocaust, migration, air
travel, the Atomic Age. What began as a personal expression
of interest in a prior generation has become a touchstone
of the foundations and values that shape our nation and ourselves.
Meet our heroes and learn from them—as I did.