Classic Who: Memorial Day in Searing Images

“The Apotheosis of War” by Vasily Vereshchagin. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

In his book From Here to Eternity, James Jones described the magic moment when his lead character first picked up a bugle. The young man had loved the blues, and now he would be able to play them. He said the blues “gave him something, an understanding, a first hint that pain might not be pointless if you could only turn it into something.”

Jones turned his own pain into a great novel. And, in the pictures below, you can see how different artists have turned the pain of war into something — images we hope you never forget.

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Art From the War With Iraq

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Windows of War

“Windows of War.” Mixed media by David Lewis-Baker, based on work by unknown photographer.

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Windows of War

“Windows of War.” Mixed media by David Lewis-Baker, created from a web photograph of a US infantryman.

Please click on the above link to see the whole series of images — more fascinating than horrifying — created by David Lewis-Baker, based on the works of unknown photographers.

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“Baghdad, 5 March 2007.” Jeremy Deller.

Car salvaged from the bombing of a street book market, now at the Imperial War Museum in London.

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Art From Vietnam War

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“Vietnam II.” Leon Golub. Vietnam War

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Art From World War II

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Marine heading ashore on D-Day. Tom Lea

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“D-Day, Omaha Beach.” Ken Riley. WW II

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“Enemy Stopped.” Fyodor Usypenko (Russian). WW II

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“Score Another for the Subs.” Thomas Hart Benton. WW II

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“Casualty.” Thomas Hart Benton. WW II

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“Tote Meer” (Dead Sea). Paul Nash. WW II

Inspired by a dump of wrecked aircraft in Oxfordshire. “The thing looked to me suddenly, like a great inundating sea … the breakers rearing up and crashing on the plain. And then, no: nothing moves, it is not water or even ice, it is something static and dead.

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“Bob Hope Entertaining Troops Somewhere in England.” Floyd Davis. WW II

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Art From World War I

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“If you get through… tell my mother.” Fortunino Matania. WW 1

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“German Prisoners.” Frederick Varley. WW I

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“Gassed.” John Singer Sargent. WW I

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“Paths of Glory.” Richard Nevinson. WW I

The paths of glory have led these soldiers to a death in a wasteland, imprisoned by barbed wire, faces down, anonymous and unrecognizable, slowly decomposing into the landscape.” Posted by Gerry Cordon.

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“La Patrie.” Richard Nevinson. WW I

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“Shop for Machining 15-inch Shells.” Anna Airy. WW I

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Art by Veterans With PTSD

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An exhibit at Southwestern University Art Gallery, September 14, 2013, of paintings by veterans suffering from PTSD in an art therapy program. The paintings are not titled, and the artists were not named. They paint to ease their pain and to make sense of their lives.

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The Wounded Trees

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The following pictures show some trees in the Nevsky Pyatachok area of Russia that somehow came into contact with war equipment during World War II — and absorbed it. They just kept on growing.

Perhaps war veterans are a little like these trees. Living and thriving, with something buried deeply within them.

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“The remains of a rotted Mannlicher Carcano rifle rest against the trunk of the left tree and a Maxim machine gun sticks out of the ground on the right.”

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Life goes on.

Related: How Do You Support Your Troops — Regular, Special, or Super?

This gallery originally appeared on WhoWhatWhy on May 26, 2014 and May 30, 2016.


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Gassed (John Singer Sargent / Wikimedia).

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