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November 11, 2008

Veteran’s Memorial, Soldier Field

Obama Duckworth.jpgMonument Obama Duckworth.jpgobama duckworth 2.jpg

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I was thinking these scenes could not have been possible before the election — with all the intensity, anticipation and unabashed salesmanship — and that they preview at least one thread of the tone and feel that’s coming.

Through eight years of Bush, there was never a political moment nearly this silent, this personal and thoughtful, this slowed down. Obama and Tammy Duckworth are home. They are not in a rush. They are in public space, yet alone.

What Obama restores here is something Bush suppressed in his assault on the American psyche. It’s stillness, and poetry.

(image 1: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters. image 2 & 3: Tannen Maury/Getty. Barack Obama and paraplegic Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and a member of the Illinois National Guard, place a wreath at Bronze Soldiers Memorial in Chicago November 11, 2008. )

  • Antonio

    A healing moment for this country and this world would come if once he becomes President, Mr. Obama would attend the first, not the second, the very first funeral of an American member of the military who had served in Afganistan or Iraq.
    The importance and power of resulting image coming from that event would work as salve to the broken places of the American soul.

  • http://pageofwoeabsolved.blogspot.com/ vmh

    They are in public space, yet alone.
    Yes, but I think they are alone together, which is the power of this photo. Interesting also, is the lower band shot, that includes their feet, but also to continue right, the wreath and the granite(?) wall. Metal, fabric over flesh, rock, leaves, leather, textures all. What is revealed, and what is not. The contrast between these are all so great, yet the center remains their faces.

  • mudkitty

    Amazing images.

  • bystander

    I am enamored of the larger shot of Obama and Tammy Duckworth. What is she thinking as she looks at Obama? Is she thinking about him, or is she musing about what she suspects Obama is thinking? There’s an apparent “warmth” (for the lack of a better term) in her expression. One could wonder about the basis for that, too. What is it she thinks Obama gets?
    Is that Reggie Love (Obama’s Body Man) on the sidewalk just beyond the memorial? Probably not. I would have expected him to be closer to Obama. Maybe it’s just a passerby.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    I would guess Obama is hoping that no more would have to die under his administration, but Tammy knows that’s probably not possible. I read the future in her eyes, the hard toll this presidency will take on a man who cares as much as Obama does.

  • http://www.paca.petfinder.com klevenstein

    There’s another great shot from this event (and I mean event in the generic, mundane sense, not the big arena sense): Obama and Tammy Duckworth hugging after walking away from the memorial. Very powerful.

  • http://theothersideof635.blogspot.com Texrednface

    The credits describe Tammy Duckworth as a paraplegic. While she is a multiple amputee, she does not have paralysis of the lower body involving both legs.

  • lytom

    Antonio: “A healing moment for this country and this world would come if once he becomes President, Mr. Obama would attend the first, not the second, the very first funeral of an American member of the military who had served in Afganistan or Iraq.”
    What would be a healing moment for this country and this world is to have wars ended!
    The continuation of the killing is unacceptable. Attending a funeral will not be a healing moment! Though Obama got the votes, I do not think he got consent to keep up the wars and aggression for the empire.
    Healing would come if Obama would publicly recognize all the evil done in the name of “democracy.” Healing would come by bringing Bush to court and not by protecting the criminal.

  • John

    She looks hopeful, I think. Optimistic. Proud.

  • Antonio

    Lytom,
    I agree with you fundamentally. However, politically, you might consider your terms of satisfaction. My sense is that you will be among the first to bail on the Obama presidency for he’s destined to disappoint our highest aspirations, yours, mine and I’m certain even his own.
    Re his mandate: I disagree. He spoke clearly about his intentions in Afghanistan. My sense is that he may be mistaken. I hope that he will choose a wiser policy there, one that will include regional solutions supported by regional powers. The destruction of Al-Quiada needs doing; I don’t believe they will negotiate or stop at any point from pursuing their goals.
    Re the things done in the name of democracy: Ditto.
    RE Bush brought to justice: I would vote yes if it were put to a referendum. And Cheney, and Rumsfeld, and Addington, and several others. Justice in the open, televised, beamed live into every classroom.
    RE funerals: You need to reconsider the value of President Obama acknowledging in public the cost of Mr. Bush’s policies. I would add, if I gave myself in to impulse, that he should do the same for some Iraqi family suffering the destructive ripples of that shocking and aweful night in March of 2003. It cannot happen in the real world, but if it were to happen, so much of the imbalance of the world could be restored. I experienced the sorrow and displacement of war as child, and I know that we barely imagine the lives of Iraqis.
    You and I don’t really disagree. I hope you and I will work to make this coming administration successful, despite the imperfections that will come.

  • Antonio

    Lytom,
    I agree with you fundamentally. Politically, you might consider your terms of satisfaction. My sense is that you will be among the first to bail on the Obama presidency for he’s destined to disappoint our highest aspirations, yours, mine and I’m certain even his own.
    Re his mandate: I disagree. He spoke clearly about his intentions in Afghanistan. My sense is that he may be mistaken. I hope that he will choose a wiser policy there, one that will include regional solutions supported by regional powers. The destruction of Al-Quiada needs doing; I don’t believe they will negotiate or stop at any point from pursuing their goals.
    Re the things done in the name of democracy: Ditto.
    RE Bush brought to justice: I would vote yes if it were put to a referendum. And Cheney, and Rumsfeld, and Addington, and several others. Justice in the open, televised, beamed live into every classroom.
    RE funerals: You need to reconsider the value of President Obama acknowledging in public the cost of Mr. Bush’s policies. I would add, if I gave myself in to impulse, that he should do the same for some Iraqi family suffering the destructive ripples of that shocking and aweful night in March of 2003. It cannot happen in the real world, but if it were to happen, so much of the imbalance of the world could be restored. I experienced the sorrow and displacement of war as child, and I know that we barely imagine the lives of Iraqis.
    You and I don’t really disagree. I hope you and I will work to make this coming administration successful, despite the imperfections that will come.

  • Antonio

    Sorry for the double and triple postings. I don’t do this often. Please.

  • Ann of NY

    Those are very powerful photos; they pulled at me from the mainstream coverage. They show two intelligent and thoughtful people performing a ceremony on behalf of the rest of us. I thank them for their care, for the decency that is so obvious.
    I honestly believe that Sen. Obama will help us to elevate our thinking, to strive toward his level. He will increase our understanding and acceptance of the human condition while he directs us toward a meaningful celebration of the American spirit.
    Thank you for the photos.

  • lytom

    Antonio, re his mandate: You write and believe that Obama “spoke clearly about his intentions in Afghanistan”…
    Given the two candidates having almost the same platform on this issue, I do not think the voters had any real choice to vote on another course in Afghanistan and for that matter in many other issues…
    It seems to me US is locked in on a course which Obama will not change.

  • Spencer

    One thing I see here that I can’t remember ever having seen in any images of Bush is the evocation of sacrifice. In the memorial, in the somber tone, and in Tammy Duckworth’s lost legs.

  • http://authenticthreads.org/blog Braidwood

    “What Obama restores here is something Bush suppressed in his assault on the American psyche. It’s stillness, and poetry.” Seriously. Maybe that’s why the (later) cover of the New Yorker made me want to cry. A deep breath.

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