A Morning with Veterans

Vietnam Veterans Reunion Photo Shoot

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I did not quite know what to expect…except that I was to take three group photos of this reunion party. I arrived to find the hotel lobby and common room filled with men in blue tee shirts and women in red. The hotel staff bustled here and there, replenishing breakfast and bringing out the vacuum cleaner. Groups of people snapped pictures of each other. Some huddled in conversation, while a few roamed and indulged their ornery streak.

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Don’t let this guy fool you, he’s a natural born prankster with a hearty sense of humor.

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“Sisters Forever.” Picture-fest began long before I arrived (or so it seemed). One of the ladies said to me that they only get to see each other once a year, so they make the most of it.

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When everyone finally made it outside, my voice wasn’t commanding enough to get the men’s attention to line up. A wonderfully dear veteran who sported red high top sneakers barked out the order so loud that I jumped. So, here we have it, these great group of guys. When I asked who would be able to kneel, the ones who did gladly volunteered and said “I’ll need help getting up though.”

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It took a while to get the men situated, but the women were efficient. The men all stood behind me and threw out joking remarks to the gals. Ah, but these women can dish it back. With the good-natured banter going back and forth, I forgot our age difference.

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The group’s mascot. Mama went back up to her room to bring the little guy down for big group picture.

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We did it! Oh sweet Jesus it was muggy that morning, and the guys were sweating, and I was sweating, but they were such excellent sports. From me repositioning and rearranging people, and asking some to sit or kneel, and climbing on a chair and making sure I can see everyone (ugh, I missed one) and then repositioning people some more…I felt drops of sweat glide down my back…and they continued to smile at me.Veterans_image8

The guys are sweethearts. I met Gary, the gentleman with the Nikon, minutes before the photo shoot. We talked about our cameras, and he told me he has a Chinese granddaughter. She is a cutie; he showed me pictures of her on his iPhone.

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This shoot was not planned. Mrs. Mullen, the lady in center with the flip-flops asked if I would take one more of just her and some of the ladies. Certainly! As the women posed, the husbands behind me hooted. One of them hollered, “Now say, hot sex!” Loud and proud the gals yelled it out. What a fantastic bunch!

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These gals are not camera shy.

Veterans_image11Just for kicks I suggested we take one more shot of them posing with outstretched arms. Six ladies decided to join the group, and there you have it.

Being with this bunch taught me that:

  • Love for life is infectious.
  • Humor really does nurture your youthfulness
  • It is important to make good memories with those you love.

“We went as strangers. Came home as brothers.” – the text on the back of the veterans’ tee shirts

Enjoy life, my friends.

xo

Sriprae McDonald
All images © 2014 Sriprae P. McDonald
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