This week marks the 10th anniversary of the US led invasion of Iraq a, war that lasted far longer than the cakewalk it was projected to be.
So far about 4,480 US troops have been killed . 32,000 Americans wounded and the combined costs of the war come to an astounding 2 trillion.
Even though the war officially ended in December 2011 there are those who still live with its legacy and always will.
Shell Shock & Awe:Good Luck In Future Endeavors
Ten years ago as the hopeful eager faced US troops entered Iraq, I began work on a collage entitled “Shell Shock and Awe: Good Luck in Future Endeavors. By juxtaposing school yearbook portraits with iconic images of the horrors of combat from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam and Iraq, the collage narrates the full story of the devastation of war.
Perusing through my vast collection of vintage high school and college yearbooks from the 1940’s, 50s 60’s and 70’s, it was clear that no matter the decade, whether the graduate was sporting a flat top or slicked backed pompadour, beehive, pixie cut or anchored with a bow, scruffy shag or neatly clipped patent-leather hair, the fresh eager faces filled with optimism were interchangeable.
Whether they were class presidents, chairman of the teen canteen, Senior Prom Queen, or led in the class play, a graduating teen’s future loomed ahead with possibilities.
2-cute-2 b Forgotten
It didn’t matter if they were jitterbugging at a sock hop or twisting the night away, there was a whole lottta shakin’ going on as these teens anticipated an exciting world of future endeavors.
That is until some were to go-man-go…off to war.
Be All You Can Be
The real possibility that so many of these hopeful faces may have been lost to war seemed especially poignant.
In contrast to the reassuring announcements of dramatic American victories we heard at home were the searing images of death and horror we saw in Life Magazine and later in our own living rooms on TV.
Mothers For Peace
The bold centerpiece image of the collage of the mother and son is an ad from 1939 before the US entered WWII.
The ad ran in an issue of Woman’s Home Companion, a mainstream woman’s magazine. This full-page vintage advertisement appeared alongside recipes for the 1940’s housewife for husband pleasin’ meals and advise on hanging dainty curtains. The contrasts between the usual vintage advertising to women and a daring war protest ad was startling.
With its powerful stereotypic image of a loving mother holding her tiny son, she asks the question whether she would be raising her on only to send him off to war. Confronted with war preparations of unparalleled scale and the casual talk of another inevitable war, the ad was an urgent call to women and mothers to unite against war.
Copyright (©) 2013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved
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