Tuesday, September 18, 2007

So Young, So Strong, So Ready For the War...

My schedule has continued to be grinding, between my two jobs and school-- I'm missing time with my kids and with Kim. I'm working on fixing that.

Every day, while waiting for my el at the Western stop on the Brown Line, I see a great and powerful war protest that been up for several years now. In the Printmaker's Cooperative building near Western and Lawrence, here in Chicago, they've simply put up pictures of men and women who were killed in the war in the windows of the building. It's a more powerful statement than anything I could make.

Dylan said, of his anti-war classic A Hard Rain, that he wrote it during the Cuban Missle Crisis, and that each line of the song was the opening line of a song he wouldn't have time to write. I feel the same, in a way, looking at this memorial-- I want to go to each of these people, sit down with them, hear their life stories. But I won't get to do that.

Each photo captures a moment in time, many of them happy. Some are gradutation photos, or a snapshot of some happy moment. They're reminders of the brutal price we-- and mostly they-- paid for this war.


Skylers Dad said...

And with no end in sight, the tragedy continues. How many more lives will be lost because of our "fearless leaders" insanity?

Hot Lemon said...

Wow. Photos speak louder than words... We need this to become a more national movement...

vikkitikkitavi said...

What a beautiful monument. Chicago is a great city for things like this. I miss it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's an incredibly powerful statement. It would be a thing of beauty if it weren't so tragic.

Bubs said...


Powerful, simple and moving.

Grant Miller said...

Holy cow. I missed this. Good thing someone is doing it.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Powerful post sir, I commend you.

Andi said...

Gorgeous, Johnny. Thanks so much for sharing this. It's striking.

Toccata said...

That monument is absolutely crushing in its significance. They were so young and so full of promise.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Another great post JYen.

Splotchy said...


I remember riding by that building when I'd come home from work when we still lived in the city.

I think I'd have a really tough time passing by it every day now. Really gutwrenching.

Is that a line from Phil Ochs' "One More Parade" in your post title?

'Bubbles' said...

The Administration can keep the press from showing pictures of the dead bodies coming home, but they can't prevent citizens from putting faces on the numbers - yet.

Great post, JY. Thanks.

Frank Sirmarco said...

Somebody should start hanging the photos on the White House fence...

Natalie said...

That is an incredibly powerful statement and so sad.

Johnny Yen said...

Skyler's Dad-
My son was making the comment the other day about W-- that he doesn't dare ask "how can this guy screw up any worse?" Because he seems capable of it.

Hot Lemon-
That's an excellent idea. I also like Frank Sirmarco's idea (read ahead).

It's very powerful.

Yeah, for a place that's got a reputation as a bunch of rubes, we sure have a lot of art.

I love the simplicity of both the work itself and the message.

You said it all.

The Reader had an article about it a couple of years ago. I think that the number of the dead was under 1,000 when they started it. It's approaching 4,000 now.

Thank you.

Glad to share it. It's really powerful, isn't it?

It reminds me of the Vietnam "Wall" memorial.


Yes, it is. I was going to include the lyrics, but didn't because there was another message in the full song. "One More Parade" was about people unquestioningly going off to war. In the case of this war, a lot of the questioning is coming from within the military.

They Might Be Giants did a great cover, incidentally, of "One More Parade" on the Rubiyat album-- it was an album that Elektra Records put out on their 30th anniversary-- it was Elektra artists doing songs of other Elektra artists-- for instance, the Pixies covered the Paul Butterfield Band's "Born In Chicago and Billy Bragg covered Love's song "Seven and Seven Is..." It's a great record.

Yeah, the information is slipping through the cracks, isn't it? War results in dead soldiers, who are our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, etc.

That's a brilliant idea.

I took that last picture because that photo of the guy on the right lower corner broke my heart. It looks like a prom or graduation picture. He must have been 22 or 23 when he died, or even younger. His life had barely begun.