100 Faces of War
With less than 1 percent of Americans in active duty military or the reserves (compared to more than 4 percent during the Vietnam War), it is not unusual for Americans to not know anyone who is serving or has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. As a result, it is woefully easy for many of us to ignore the everyday details of what's going on "over there." To shed some light on this blind spot, artist Matt Mitchell has started to compile portraits and brief testimonials from people of diverse military and civilian backgrounds who have served in the Middle East theater. According to the artist's statement, "The goal of '100 Faces' is to bring to the public an empathy for their fellow Americans involved in these wars, to close the perceived gap between those who are serving in the war and the general public." A tension between their noble reasons for wanting to serve and the sometimes less noble reality of the war runs through many of the statements from soldiers. Most memorable, however, is a letter from a Marine who who was killed in combat. "I am not afraid of dying," he writes. "I am more afraid of what will happen to all the ones that I love if something happens to me."
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