Until yesterday, I had never spoken to or met an Iraq Veteren. Then I met Jim McGuirck. A very soft spoken and humble 25 year old community college student, music lover and Iraq War Veteren. I was assigned to take his photograph for a story to be published in new student magazine. I had a few ideas for the image, but nothing solid. I didn’t even know this guys story. I hadn’t read the story yet. I knew nothing about Jim other than that he was a Vet.
So I decided that I wanted to talk to him, get a feel for who he is. As we began to talk, all my ideas went out the window. How could I think about creating an image when all I was able to visualize was his stories of kicking down doors during late night raids and bullets wizing by you. As he talked more about his experiances both on dutie and off, my mind began to wander farther and further from creating an image.
All I could think about was how petty my problems seem to be. I have never had bullets wizzing by me, I have never had to kick down a families door. I have never had mens lives under my control. I stress about not having enough gas or not having enough time to edit photos. Not about others lives. Not about training the new Iraqi Army.
After I created my image and left Jim to go about the rest of his day, I was in a weird mood. Things had been put into a bit of perspective for me. Every day really could be ones last. Whether your demise comes from an AK-47 round or a car accident, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we live each and every day to the fullest. Try your hardest, do your best. Be preparred. And most of all have fun.
Jim has been through alot during his 2 tours of duty. Seen alot, done alot, felt alot. Made mistakes and accomplishments. And now that it is all said and done he sems content. He told me that if today were Septemeber 5, 2001 (the day that he joined the Army) he would do it again. He has no regrets.
Sure he may have memories that he dislikes or has intentionally forgotten about, but he doesn’t regret his time served. And I think that is how life should be. Don’t regret bad choices or inconvienent timing. Just grow from it. Build upon it. Adapt to be a better person and make your life the way YOU want it to be. Carpe Dieme.