I’m a military junkie. I digest books about special ops, movies about D-Day, I’ll even argue over the historical accuracy of a Chuck Norris movie. When I was a kid I planned to continue a long family tradition of military service, I was going to fly jet fighters. Well, that plan changed a little when I realized that pilots have to be taller than me and in better shape, and be able to do complex trigonometry while hurtling into battle at speeds exceeding the sound barrier. While I may have found a way to get into shape under the forced tutelage of a drill instructor, they can’t stretch bones or turn me into Einstein. So, I’m a spectator into a guarded community of heroes much like the rest of our country.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to give back to the men and women who ensure my and Chuck’s freedoms, even if the bearded-one chooses to squander his on bad one-liners, through a new pro bono project called Portraits of Love. An initiative from the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distribution Association (PMDA), the Portraits of Love project is helping professional photographers connect with local military families to send 10,000 family portraits to their loved ones serving overseas. Photographers will be hosting free photo sessions in their own studios and some will be coordinating time to visit military bases around the country. With many military personnel looking at spending their holiday season in a war zone, something as simple as a family portrait can go a long way to bridging such a great divide.
For those courageous men and women who follow the path that the rest of us not dare, our hats are off to you. I certainly hope that our tiny contribution can help make their holidays away from their parents, children and friends just a little more bearable. Afterall, even Major Scott McCoy needs to remember who’s waiting back home.