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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Thursday Weeping

posted by on March 1 at 10:06 AM

Yesterday I posted this photo by Nina Berman, writing that it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I posted it without Berman’s permission.

Thankfully, Berman has graciously given us permission to re-post her heartbreaking image, which took first prize in the portrait category in this year’s Wold Press Photo Awards.


(Image © Nina Berman)

Berman’s other works on wounded military can be found at If you haven’t seen them yet, go now.

(Via, originally, Crooks & Liars and Bag News Notes.)

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this series of photos should be hung over the president's bed so they are the first thing he sees every morning when he wakes up and the last thing he sees every night before closing his STUPID FUCKING RETARDED EYES.

Posted by jameyb | February 28, 2007 2:14 PM

The first time I saw this I thought it was way more creepy than sad, that was before I read the story behind it. Looking at it again the creepy part is that she isn't smiling.

Posted by Ryan | February 28, 2007 2:25 PM

Oh. My. Gawd. Fucking tragic.

Posted by Monique | February 28, 2007 2:34 PM

I feel reeeeally bad about thinking this, I really do, but I first though "unmasked Darth Vader" when I saw this picture.

Posted by The CHZA | February 28, 2007 2:43 PM

CHZA, you made me laugh, and now I feel bad.

Posted by mattk | February 28, 2007 2:46 PM

that is horrifying. my sister got married this weekend, because they wanted to get legal before he had to head off to iraq. stuff like this really freaks me out.

Posted by konstantConsumer | February 28, 2007 2:49 PM

I had a teacher in elementary school that was burned on his face by napalm in Nam. It really affects you when you see what the aftermath of war looks like carved and burned in human flesh.

Posted by Jake of | February 28, 2007 2:52 PM

1) I posted this in the comments weeks ago and was ignored,

2) It affirms my belief in true love, and I fail to see hot it's creepy or funny (wtf #5?), and

3) I agree w/ #1 that, not only the Pres, but everyone in this country needs to see the aftermath of this war (and, of course, not just the aftermath for Americans but also for Iraqi citzens), and on a daily basis - it's disgusting how consumer life seems to just float on uninterupted by the fact that the US is involved in 2 wars at the moment (and contemplating a third).

Posted by dwb | February 28, 2007 3:03 PM

I've been looking at this picture every day since I first saw it on Sullivan (or maybe here, via dwb).

Posted by Fnarf | February 28, 2007 3:21 PM

When I looked at this picture I first felt anger. I hope GW and Dick are haunted every day for the rest of their lives.

Anger gave way to pity. Without knowing any back story and looking at this particular picture it just doesn't look happy at all.

Then I looked at the series, or at least some of them, and pity turned to envy. Love is an amazing thing.

I always come back to angry though.

Posted by monkey | February 28, 2007 3:28 PM

Interesting to note that earlier this week Dick Cheney got close to actual combat for the first time in his life. His response? He hustled onto a plane and got away as fast as he could. Cowards the lot of them. Cowards, fools and sick, sick sociopaths. They should all be made to suffer.

Posted by Gurldoggie | February 28, 2007 3:37 PM

How does this affirm your belief in true love? Has anyone noticed that that woman looks absolutely fucking miserable in everyone of those pictures? This photo is utterly heartbreaking because they are both getting married in an embrace of a lie.

Fucking tragic.

Posted by kasa | February 28, 2007 4:08 PM




Posted by michael strangeways | February 28, 2007 4:08 PM

In the other photos she looks happy. To me, at least.

Posted by keshmeshi | February 28, 2007 4:14 PM

Fnarf's right, I think I saw it on Sullivan's site too. I was whining, and the more people that see it the better. People should be reminded every day of the enormous sacrifice that some have made. The NYT (while guilty of printing articles amping the case against Iran, wtf) has printed some heartwrenching articles and pictures.

The journal will have to speak for Charles now. He was killed Oct. 14 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his armored vehicle in Baghdad. Charles, 48, had been assigned to the Army’s First Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, Fourth Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Tex. He was a month from completing his tour of duty.

For our son’s first Christmas, Charles had hoped to take him on a carriage ride through Central Park. Instead, Jordan, now 9 months old, and I snuggled under a blanket in a horse-drawn buggy. The driver seemed puzzled about why I was riding alone with a baby and crying on Christmas Day. I told him.

“No charge,” he said at the end of the ride, an act of kindness in a city that can magnify loneliness.

Posted by dwb | February 28, 2007 4:18 PM

One of the rarely talked about tragedies of the Iraq war is the walking wounded that remain. We hear count of dead soldiers almost daily (I remember the death count on the news during Vietnam when I was a kid). Yet we rarely hear about the wounded.

One of the miracles of modern medicine is that a whole lot of soldiers survive battlefield injuries that killed most soldiers in previous wars. The man in these photos would certainly have died of injuries like that in WW II, and would even likely have died of such injuries during the Vietnam era. But now modern medicine can save a lot of guys who suffer horrific battlefield injuries. And when they do, they are of course NOT counted among the dead. It gives the illusion that things aren't as bad as they could be, because we aren't hearing about as many dead soldiers as we did during Vietnam. Partly, this is because some of them aren't dying, they end up like this guy.

I've been appalled to read articles over the last couple of weeks of reprehensible treatment of wounded vets by the military. Poor treatment in general. Ignoring post traumatic stress syndrome. Pushing wounded vets out of the military without providing long term care for their injuries. This is a disgusting predicament. These men (and some women) didn't give their lives, but some of them gave their limbs, and will live with life long disfigurements and pain, and our government owes them better treatment for that.

Posted by SDA in SEA | February 28, 2007 4:52 PM

Thanks for posting this up, though I would say it'd be great if there was a link to Ty's story so it'd be a bit easier to learn more.

I work on behalf of veterans and active duty service members which has forced me to develop a thick emotional skin against the injustices I have to witness every week. This picture, and the background I dug up after seeing it, have me crying at my desk.

I never supported the war, never had an interest in the military or veterans, and never would have guessed that I'd end up doing this work. I question why I do this and think about moving on every day.

A picture and story like this reminds me why I haven't given up yet...

If anyone reading about their story feels like they need to do something to help, do some research on the Fisher House. The local VA hospital is trying to raise money for one up on Beacon Hill but they aren't even close to having enough money. The Fisher House provides a place for the families of severely injured service members to stay while their loved one is going through the often long recovery process. Ty's story shows how much of a difference it can make to have your family nearby.

Posted by andy | February 28, 2007 5:14 PM

I simply don't know what to do with the knowledge of these vets losses/ sacrifices, and their families'. I wish someone could tell me an easy solution, like "write a letter," or "protest" but there is no way out. Sure, I get angry, but even that seems like a way of not feeling the pain being a witness to this war. I am not trying to focus on my own "pain" - that would be absurd in this context - but photos like this really raise a sort of pit of despair and helplessness in me, maybe others. All I can do is cry.

The bride's face here is tragic. It may not be true - a camera can catch a moment's glance that misrepresents the whole person's attitude - but even if she is and will be happy (who knows? We just have photos), but the shell-shock in her face is just TRUE in a more general sense.

The bride reminds me of my cousin. Her gaze may stay with me forever.

Posted by Jude Fawley | February 28, 2007 5:27 PM

I only saw andy's post after I posted mine. Thanks for the thoughts, suggestions, and the work you do, andy.

Posted by Jude Fawley | February 28, 2007 5:31 PM

Continuing with some points made @16,

It amazes me that, with the heaps of money being spent on this war and the billions that are lining the pockets of Bush cronies, our government is trying to nickel and dime wounded soldiers to death.

What. The. Fuck?

Posted by keshmeshi | February 28, 2007 5:44 PM

Latest news has the wounded soldiers in the decrepit wards at Walter Reed, whose appalling treatment has been in the news lately, are being punished for bringing conditions there to light.

When you ask someone to make a sacrifice like this, for an unjust cause, and then treat them like inconvenient garbage afterwards, you're committing treason, I think.

God damn it. God damn it. God damn it. This motherfucking war and this motherfucking administration are affecting my mental health.

Posted by Fnarf | February 28, 2007 6:00 PM

nobody saw them on Oprah?

Posted by mai | February 28, 2007 8:28 PM

The photo reminds me of the nightmarish video for "One" by Metallica.

This isn't a miracle.

It's a horror.

Posted by Original Andrew | February 28, 2007 8:57 PM

what #1 said. They shouldn't just be at Bush's bedside, however, they should be covering his mirrors and on his desk and projected onto his Tel-e-Prompter screen every time he goes to open his lying sack of shit mouth.

I cannot imagine a punishment gruesome enough to fit his crimes.

Posted by gnossos | February 28, 2007 9:06 PM

fnarf, i hear you. i feel helpless to stop this war, and it is affecting my mental health. all i can do is tun away, most times. good god, this administration makes reagan's look so good by comparison, doesn't it? freaky!

Posted by ellarosa | February 28, 2007 11:13 PM

fnarf, i hear you. i feel helpless to stop this war, and it is affecting my mental health. all i can do is tun away, most times. good god, this administration makes reagan's look so good by comparison, doesn't it? freaky!

Posted by ellarosa | February 28, 2007 11:13 PM

Hey Commenters,

Sorry the post was pulled down last night. As you can see it's back up now. On a related note: I'm an idiot.

Posted by Bradley Steinbacher | March 1, 2007 10:23 AM

Reading the comments, I'm inclined to agree with Andy's comment in that the photo does little to provide info/links to the background story. I blogged on the photos and background story at my blog Dying to Preserve the Lies on Feb 15 when I encountered the report of Nina Berman's award winning photos. Unlike Slog, I recognized it was a copyrighted photo and did not place it directly on my blog.

However, I'm pleased to see that Slog did obtain permission after the fact and the photo is posted. There is so much more to this couple's story, their own unique courage. It's most timely in light of ABC reporter Bob Woodruff 'To Iraq and Back' special that aired this week (read more at Washblog). Woodruff was injured while covering Iraq. His special does an amazing job of calling attention to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It's well worth seeing, and if didn't see it on tv this week, it is available to view online.

In light of what you see in Nina Berman's photos, and in Bob Woodruff special 'To Iraq and Back' there is all the more powerful reason to look at our Senators and Congress Representatives and ask them how they can condone funding such an atrocious war.


Everyone--not just Bush & Co.--who so eagerly pursued this war should be held accountable for these damaged lives.

Posted by Boomer | March 1, 2007 10:40 AM

Thank you, Lietta. I think about your boys or girls in harm's way every day. I hope they stay well.

Posted by Fnarf | March 1, 2007 10:49 AM

I like what #1 said. I also agree with the statements about how horribly our government treats injured vets. I get so angry that our government can send our young men and women into harm's way, then treat them as if they're a burden when they return.

Posted by him | March 1, 2007 11:15 AM

I also saw this on Sullivan a few weeks ago and was so struck by it. One of the most heartbreaking photos I've ever seen.

Posted by Gabriel | March 1, 2007 1:11 PM

For those that want to read more about this story.

Posted by truthseeker | March 1, 2007 1:38 PM

I looked at the picture being reading anything about it. I thought that a new tv show or movie of Beauty and the Beast was coming out. But, after reading the words, I am saddened and joyful. Saddened because of what the war is doing to individuals and our country as a whole. Joyful because he lived and his story shows the kind of courage and strength that humans are capable of. As to her expression, I don't read that much into it. Even if she looks that way in all the wedding pictures. I imagine that this experience traumatized her. She may feel her own sadness and joy.

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