We’ve all grown up on a steady diet of Second World War lore. From movies, TV shows, books and documentaries the “Big War” is embedded in all our imaginations. Yet it’s sometimes easy to forget it was fought by regular guys, our family members and neighbors who we’ve lived alongside all our lives. Mostly silent about their experiences we think of them in their post-war civilian roles: barbers and fishermen, uncles and teachers. But in their youth they were part of the greatest group effort in the history of the world, each as one of millions of soldiers tasked with pulling the world back from the grip of fascism.
The world may never again see anything like it. Let’s hope not, anyway.
Noting that this is the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, that every day there are fewer and fewer WW II vets and that Gloucester pound for pound sent more men and women to war than most any other community in the country, professional photographer Jason Grow decided that those remaining needed to be recorded and their memory preserved before their entire generation was gone. This makes sense remembering the youngest vets are 87 years old today. So he decided to shoot as many of these vets as he can, hoping to capture all the WW II Vets on Cape Ann as part of a photo series. It’s a personal project borne out of respect and the desire to capture a part of history before it’s lost forever. He hopes to turn it into some kind of exhibition the the upcoming Veteran’s Day in November.
One of the most interesting facets of the project is how diverse the experiences are. Some guys were shipped to stateside bases for years, being deployed only later in the war, often to combat zones just as the Japanese surrendered. There were those who helped open the gates at concentration camps. Others saw the horror of battle, but respond with the humility typical of their generation, “The medics, those guys were the heroes.”
The pictures speak for themselves, here are a couple of the images so far, We’re going to publish a few more later in the day/tomorrow.
As the project develops portraits and the stories of these men and women will be athttp://www.jasongrow.com/