As I stood in the middle of an intersection with my buddy who was on assignment for Macys. I watched as the neon lights changed as the ads scrolled across the digital ad boards. I shifted left and right as I stood stationary shooting, and looking for interesting shots as a street photographer. After a dull moment of being pushed and shoved as people getting off work and those Christmas shopping made their way by I moved to an open area where I wasn’t in the way.
As I leaned up against a clear glass wall I observed a man approach looking through what he called a non-active cellphone which he used as his phone directory for his contacts. He was dressed in full US Army standard issued ACUs. (Camo). He was carrying a partially full ruck sack. (Backpack). I asked him respectfully where did you get those and he responded, “Oh I’m not stolen valor, I earned the with my blood and the blood of my brothers!”
I moved close because his soft tone was being drowned out by the passing subway beneath us and the thousands of those on their phones and those talking passing. In that moment as he went on in conversation all I could hear was his story. We went on to introduce ourselves and he told me his name was Mark and he last served with 2/7 -11B (Infantry) out of Ft Stewart GA. (3rd Infantry Division)
Mark explained to me his time in a mechanized unit was spent in Iraq in the early 2000s where they fought against regular and unconventional enemies. He said he completed 3, 15 month tours that messed him up from 2003-07.(8yrs service total) He said with attitude, “And I still kept serving! “ He said this is where my problems came in because he missed the war the comradery and the constant adrenaline. Mark went on to say he tried working various jobs but ultimately found himself a loner. He said I used to wear regular cloths on the streets but he found that his uniform and his standard issued gear kept him warmer and that it is a constant reminder of what he did and that makes him proud.