I was in a bookstore searching for staples. Staples and products of its ilk are merchandised on the second floor and in order reach the second floor, one has to walk past a television on which CNN is usually tuned. The all too common “Breaking News” was unfolding across the screen demanding my attention so I stopped. A book seller asked if everything was alright and I said yes but remarked to her that CNN was airing images from the first Gulf War. She said Oh. I said today is the 25th anniversary. We spoke briefly about our memories of January 17th 1991 then went our own ways.
I found the staples, paid for them and went back to working on an installation project. A thought stayed with me. I thought about how I had come to forget the war and felt shame. I know people who fought in the war. I have been to Kuwait and I fought in Iraq. I’ve walked on the highway of death and was moved by the knowledge.
Cheney was right about the cost of war not being cheap. The photos in Abergil’s photos remind us of wars expense. The photos remind us that behind every KIA, many many people are left to sort through and make meaning from objects.
The survivors are compelled to see their departed. Taking time to see the expense of war is an act we all need to make a habit of, especially as these long wars inch close to the midpoint of another decade with no end in sight.