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Photopoint Article



Photopoint Article from November 2000 IN LOVE AND HONOR by Elizabeth McAvoy, Photopoint Community Writer Just in case if you missed the Photopoint article on William and myself. The article is actually about the children of veterans honoring their parents by having picture albums on Photopoint. (Photopoint is one of the largest picture sites on the internet.)

Wanting to forget the past
The past shows through in dreams.
The fear shows Through the eyes and body.
As the gunfire is heard -
There is no escape.>

The poem is called "War Dreams," and it was written years ago by a Karen Smith, a veteran's daughter. She wrote the poem as a teen during a time when her dad, an infantryman who fought at Chosin Reservoir in North Korea during the Korean War, was still having nightmares in which he'd imitate the sound of gunfire and call out as if he was stilll in battle. Karen wrote the poem years before she had a chance to peek inside his scrapbook full of personal and painful memories, the one her stepmother used to say to Karen and her siblings could not touch; the one containing a homemade patch of the regiment that said, "Returned from Hell - Seoul - Inchon - Korea."

And though the poem conveys an understanding that only the child of a war veteran may know, it wasn't until she was much older that Karen realized just how much the war had affected her father. Last year, she returned to Florida from a visit to Washington D.C. after she found out he'd been taken to the hospital and was recovering from a heart attack. Upon seeing her, he asked whether she'd had a chance to visit the Korean War memorial.

"The first words he spoke to me were, "Did you see the memorial?"Karen said, "I then realized how important the Korean War was to my dad."

William is one of millions of United States veterans who spent his youth fighting to assure peace for subsequent generations. It is for him and veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War that we celebrate Veterans Day. "(It's important to honor our veterans because) they were willing to die for their country while the rest weren't. That by itself should be sufficient," said Dick Hall, a former United States Army infantryman who served in Vietnam from 1967 - 1968.

During his tour of duty in Vietnam, Dick remembers toting around an Olympus range finder and taking hundreds of pictures. Many are grainy and faded with age, but the faces and scenes are clear: smiling servicemen sitting in tall grass, village children hamming it up for the lens, jungles, thatched huts and foxholes. And there are also the dead bodies - young men who would never go to college, kiss their wives or play with their children - young men who would never go home. It is to all veterans that Dick dedicates his albums.

Like him, many veterans have put their military photos online in the hopes of connecting with other men and women who served in war. Friends, spouses and children, too, have gone to the Interent with their photos to honor loved ones....

Like Roberta and Beverly, Karen Smith said she is proud to have had the opportunity to get to know her father and other veterans. She hopes her albums will remind people that the freedoms we enjoy are hard-earned - - they are gifts of love from men and women whom most of us may never have the privilege of meeting.

"Our veterans are the backbone and literally the defenders of this nation - we are just lucky that we are living in (this) time and place," Karen said. "One...vet told me, 'I became a soldier for peace, no other reason.' Most veterans chose to become soldiers, knowing that they may not survive...that in itself shows devotion and love." Copyright 1998-2000 Photopoint Corp

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