It’s hard for me to pass up vintage pictures. In fact, I have a small box of photos of strangers that I’ve picked up in antique stores and junk shops over the years.
I call them “the family.”
I mostly buy candid photos rather than portraits. Occasionally they are labeled but they typically have no names or years, no stories, and no way to identify the people in the photos.
Sometimes I buy them because the photos are cool and I simply like old photos. It also makes me sad to see them languishing in a box on the floor, unwanted and without anyone to remember them.
This 8×10 of a sailor was a dollar in Denver last year. He looks like just a kid and I’m sure he was. It’s not labeled. No name or year.
I wonder what ever happened to him. I hope he made it home. I wonder if there’s anyone left in his family to even know his name or wonder what he looked like or how smart he looked on his uniform.
Our history is teeming with stories of young men and women who joined up, generously signing that proverbial blank check to our nation. Far too many don’t ever make it home. Others do but leave a piece of themselves in far off lands, instead bringing home more trauma than anyone should have to endure.
On this Veterans Day, I hope we all will remember that.
Say thanks to a veteran in your life. Say thanks to a stranger. Be grateful to the kids like this one who you never knew. After all, they served for all of us even though they didn’t know us either.
It’s the least we can do.