The Shrine Down The Hall: In Honor of Veteran’s Day

I’ve shared my lack of direct interaction with anything having to do with the military, and with war before. Originally a circumstance of when I was born, then the people I grew up around; while as an adult I was grateful, but also knew it was nothing I was cut out for.

We hear of, or we ‘know’ about the sacrifices military families and their loved ones make, but it seems it’s one of those things: unless you live it, it’s all an acedemic exercise.

Ashley Gillbertson is a New York-based photographer who had been covering Iraq from early on. A few years back he stopped covering combat, because he felt the American public wasn’t responding anymore. Instead, he focused his efforts on the aftereffects of war.

In March of 2010 he published a photo essay in the NY Times called  The Shrine Down The Hall, which simply were photographs of the bedrooms of fallen soldiers. Bedrooms the families have largely left as they were, as a memory of, and a tribute to their young son or daughter killed while serving.

Shot in black and white, they full of life, yet, frozen in time.  Halfway between childhood and adulthood, there are many juxtapositions….mixed in with sports trophies and stuffed animals are recruitment posters, and items with the image of the American flag.  One bed has a half-dozen pair of shoes, neatly lined up underneath.

It’s very hard to look at spaces that defined people who are, abruptly, no longer with us, but I urge you to do so, and then also to share this with others.  Click here to see the entire portfolio.

This Friday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day. Thank a veteran, and say a prayer for them, and military families everywhere.