Bedrooms of America's Young War Dead

Photo by Ashley Gilbertson, NYT
Heartbreaking photo essay in the NYT by photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson of the bedrooms left behind by young war dead from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Above: Bedroom of PFC. Karina S. Lau, Army. Killed November 2, 2003, Falluja, Iraq; helicopter shot down by insurgents. Age: 20. Hometown: Livingston, CA.

In this video interview, photographer Ashley Gilbertson talks about his Bedrooms of the Fallen project:

"These bedrooms. This to me is war photography. This is the closest I have even gotten to explaining to people who haven't experienced what I have what war is. This is about the dead. This is about the abstinence, which is the hardest thing to deal with.

You learn so much about a kid who is living at home with his parents. We as adults, have entire houses to express who we are and what we like and how we live. Our kids have one room. It is their safe place. It is their intimate place. They express themselves.

This man or this woman could've been your own child. It could've been your boyfriend or girlfriend. It could've been your brother, your sister. It could've been somebody from your town. You can connect with this.

This isn't about uniforms. This isn't about the desert or mountains or places you'll never go. This isn't about a foreign war. This is about what we have sacrificed as a nation to go to war."

It's so true, isn't it? These bedrooms depict for us an emptiness that some of us are lucky enough not to have feel or realize on a daily basis. They depict a loss and a stagnant wound that is ours as a nation. Take them in. Look around. Cry your eyes out like I did. And then remember, remember...

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