Posts Tagged ‘armed forces

24
Nov
10

What are you thankful for?

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, second from right, looks back after escorting a tearful Latonya Holmes before the arrival of her husband, Sgt. David Holmes' body at Sandersville Airport, Wednesday, July 7, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

As I sit in the Waynesboro McDonald’s trying to waste some time between assignments down here in Burke County, (whoever thinks this is a glamorous job need only spend a week with us out on the road to see that we photogs eat TERRIBLY – on the go and wherever we can, usually fast food), I’m tempted to talk about Thanksgiving a little, this the day before the big turkey day.

Last July, I wrote a quick note on my Facebook group about the work I was doing with fellow writer Adam Folk focusing on the Army’s casualty assistance program.  We covered for the daily paper, and I posted something here about it – and how the widow’s screams were quite haunting during her husband’s arrival on a chartered flight from Dover, Delaware in a casket draped with the American flag.  It finally ran on Veterans Day with photos I had been sitting on since the summer.  I’m glad they found a home in the paper and online, because these were very moving images from a very moving experience for all involved, including me.  As photographers we do our best to illustrate and document what is going on, but there are a few rare occasions where photos, video, nothing can really relate what it was really like.

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, right, and Master Sgt. Vincent Grissom, left, help Latonya Holmes to the funeral service for Sgt. David Holmes at New Birth Christian Ministries, Friday, July 9, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, left, looks on as Latonya Holmes, second from left, is consoled by Master Sgt. Vincent Grissom, as the body of Sgt. David Holmes is prepared to leave New Birth Christian Ministries after funeral services, Friday, July 9, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

It is stories like these that make me thankful for what I have.  It’s the story of the husband who dedicates his life to the caregiving of his aging wife suffering from Alzheimers as she slowly loses the memories that effectively makes up their 38-year marriage.  It’s the story of a grieving mother who has lost her son in an instant of senseless violence.  Or the man who sits on a curb while his small house and everything he owns burns inside. 

These are the moments that, when I see them, I take a quick pause to realize how lucky I am, and I’m grateful for it.  Yes it’s part of life – that amazing thing we call life – with it’s highs and its lows and the total unpredictable nature of…nature.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com

Sgt. Everett Yeckley, right, holds Latonya Holmes' hand as he tries to comfort her during the arrival of Sgt. David Holmes' body at Sandersville Airport, Wednesday, July 7, 2010, in Tennille, Ga.

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22
Jun
10

balloon release

Jahsaan Bryant, 10, releases baloons with friends during activities to celebrate the Army's 235th birthday, at the Child, Youth and School Services at Fort Gordon, Friday, June 18, 2010, in Augusta, Ga. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

Last Friday was a busy day for me.  I spent the day at Fort Gordon, for the 3rd time that week, to shoot the Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders (and a few players too, but who was paying attention to them, I mean lets be honest).  Since Fort Gordon is considered a bit of a haul for us, not to mention dealing with the security that goes with a federal Army base, we like to consolidate assignments on whatever day the photographer is present so that we minimize how many times we have to go out there.  This meant I had something else to shoot, only minutes after the cheerleaders were scheduled to land in Blackhawk helicopters.

Long story short, after waiting for an hour in the sun at Engineer Field, I quickly grabbed a few shots of the cheerleaders.  Then, the public affairs specialist, Siobhan, escorted me to the Child, Youth and School Services where they were conducting events for the children to celebrate the Army’s 235th birthday.  We thought we were late, but luckily, upon our arrival, the kids were just finishing up their hand-made decorated kites and waiting for the balloon release.  This was something I had previsualized.  I knew I wanted hands, balloons and sky.  It ended up better than I could have hoped, since the floating balloons created a nice background for the kids and hands.  The layering really invites the eye to move around the frame.

Now, about those cheerleaders.  Here’s a link to the photo gallery on the Augusta Chronicle website:

http://chronicle.augusta.com/multimedia/2010-06-18/photo-gallery-falcons-visit-fort-gordon

There’s just something inherently funny about primping cheerleaders and loud Blackhawk choppers.

-RAE

www.rainier-ehrhardt.com