by Cynthia Wands
March of 2022
Another war. Unlike other wars I’ve followed in newspapers/television and online, I have more access to see this happen in real time. I’ve seen more video, tweets, and images of this war than any other because of my access (and the available time to view it) on social media. It’s horrifying and overwhelming.
I’m thinking of the images we that don’t get to see right now, the images that we don’t know about, that will be revealed to us, later on.
I think about this because my father served in the United States military during the Vietnam War – and the only images I knew of that experience were shown on television, or in Life Magazine, or in the newspapers. Those images were carefully curated by the media, and by my family. I didn’t feel much connection to the loss of life and the horror that played out in that war. My father never talked to me about what he did in the military, and I didn’t know what his job was. When he was asked about his military experience, I heard him say: “I served in the Air Force for 25 years.” And then he would change the subject.
This kind of omission, and the determined silence around it, led me to believe that he just “worked in the Air Force”. After he died a few years ago, I was given more information on what his actual job entailed, and it wasn’t as sinister or as noble as I had imagined. But I still remember my blind acceptance of what I was told. And what I saw.
I wonder what will the writers and playwrights and artists and creators make of the images that we’ll see because of this war. I am trying to keep my eyes open.