Tonight I shake hand’s with men of honor. A great and uplifting way to bring a very long day to a close.
The working day behind us, my good friend Thiep and I walk into Schooner’s for a dinner conversation. It’s a cool little restaurant just outside of Pearl Harbor. We walk in and I can not ignore the presence of two tables happily playing dominos. At table one sits a group of men, and, at table two sits there life’s sweethearts. We’ll get to their story in a moment.
Let’s talk about Thiep and the other amazing people he works with for a bit. Thiep is an extremely humble man of great depth. At only 29 he has seen parts of the world and experienced situations that would put many of us in state of paralysis.
While we dine, he shares accounts of his travels around the globe working with JPAC. Every time I chat with him and those he serves with, my respect for exactly what JPAC does grows monumentally.
One thing you need to know about this division of photographers, selected from all branches of the military. They are tireless, committed and compassionate to their mission: Finding and bringing home the remains of our missing-in-action war hero’s, all of whom honorably gave their lives for the countries that they so dearly loved.
This week I’ve had the absolute honor and privilege to present a workshop to the group. It’s been an awesome experience training them, learning of exactly what they do and plain right getting to know them on an individual basis.
In a nutshell, they pretty much sacrifice time with family, safety, and at times their art in giving service to the many families haunted by lack of knowing exactly what happened to their lost loved ones are.
Please, take a moment of silence to bless the efforts of this special group and the families around the globe who are still seeking the answer, “where is my lost family.” Our prayers are with you.
Now what about the domino player’s?
I’m hoping that by the age, smiles and hats, You can figure out their history……..
If you’re guessing war veterans, ding! ding! ding! Here is a little math, 5 men, combined years of service to their nation? Over 100 years. Makes you think about the works of our servicemen and woman, and appreciate what we have, doesn’t it?
Walking up to their table, I give my usual 365 pitch, and all are smiles of acceptance, yet they break no stride in playing their game. And in a gesture to them, I decide to not get overly technical and simply grab a couple quick snap shots of them in action. However, they did work with me a little in providing a few direct at the camera expressions. What can I say? I’m somewhat charming.
With loyalty to the 365 project, there is no way I can walk away from the table without at least asking a couple of questions.
“Where do you see yourself in ten years?” I ask.
With rolls of laughter, they all point up to the sky.
“What would like to share with my readers?” I question.
Got to love these men!
1) Enjoy life (starting to become a very common through line to 365)
2) The secret to a long life… “Keep Breathing.”
3) Get out and serve!
4) Jump off you Ass and onto an Elephant. They wink at me (a subliminal thing).
Conversation pleasantly over, I salute and retreat to my ride back to the hotel.
One of our new friends is a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild), has appeared in multiple commercials and appearances, and is requested around the globe to play one of our most cherished holiday figures. Can you guess who the character is?