Today I randomly came across my friend Embry Rucker on Linkedin. Though he only lives down in San Diego we haven't seen one another in at least 5 or 6 years. He's married with kids and hustles as a travel photographer. As for me... well, I don't have any excuse for not keeping in touch. I'm just overworked and broverwhelmed. So I absent-mindedly requested his "friendship" and figured we'd eventually get around to catching up, if not soon then at an uber-harsh German trade show or atop a snowy mountain somewhere.
However, much to my happy surprise, Embry immediately accepted my "friendship" and within five minutes sent an email asking how I've been. WOW—THE INTERNET!
Anyway, while catching up in this very 21st Century way I learned he's moved on from photography to additionally working as a commercial director. So I sent him the link to our Room 205 project and suggested we try to do an episode together in 2012. In response, he then sent a link to some of his work, namely the above-piece he recently directed for The Greatest Generations Foundation in honor of the 67th Anniversary of D-Day, (which happens to be today).
Whether you love, hate, or simpy "don't care" about war... well, Embry's piece doesn't really leave any room for feelings of ambivalence. When the old guy starts crying and talking as he's looking around the beaches of Normandy... Man, my head just about caved in. It also caused me to ponder pretty damn hard all that Veteran's Day does and does not express.
If there's one thing any of us can do for our soldiers currently in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is this— bring those folks home. Ribbons, handshakes and medals just don't cut it. Annual praise and empty talk of 'sacrifice' just doesn't cut it, especially when the motivations of the wars in question are so terribly questionable. Our men and women in uniform are straight up killing and dying for the bullshit doctrine established by full-blown ding-dongs George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz. Oil fields. Natural Gas pipelines. Last remaining 'Superpower'. The 1,000-year Global Hegemony... Blah blah blah... Ridiculous.
To all of you veterans out there (including all three of my uncles; Gary, Burke, and Dwayne), I send you my sincerest and most genuine thanks. Each and every one of you will carry a lifelong burden that regular folks can't possibly get their heads around without going through it themselves. To anyone thinking of joining the US Military at this current moment in our nation's history— just don't do it. Instead, maybe join Doctors Without Borders or an NGO. Join a nudist colony. Join the CIA. Join an organic farm producing food for refugee camps in Africa. Join what-the-fuck-ever is not the US Military.
All anti-terrorism smoke-screens and weepy 9/11 nostalgia aside, after nine years of this bullshit it should be pretty clear to everyone that losing your life & limbs as canon-fodder for Dick Cheney and Exxon Mobile just isn't worth it.
Brah-rak BrObama, bring our folks home. That's why we elected you. Forget about the economy. Forget about Occupy Wall Street. Forget about the Banks and Foreclosures. Press pause on all that noise, we'll figure it out. First things first, just bring those soldiers home and rapidly wind down those idiotic wars of adventure. It is killing our collective spirit and bankrupting our nation. So let's start there. A nation cannot heal itself and restore its hopes and dreams while actively killing those of its fellow nations.
Embry, it is great to be in touch with you again. Thanks again for providing so much food for thought on this very special and deeply complicated day.
'Connecting Generations' is absolutely right.