If you know me or have followed me for any length of time, you also know that the Memorial Day 2008 photo above of my son, Isaiah, is one of my most used creative commons licensed photos. It has been used on album covers, in magazines, and even more recently by internet trolls seeking to divide our country by abusing the patriotic imagery that should, if anything, unite us.
When I originally posted the photo, I chose this rearview because we didn’t share images of the faces of our underage children on social media. As it turned out, the absence of his face is what has made it so useable. Isaiah could be any American child, or every American child, honoring the memory of our fallen. It also meant he could be “Little Timmy,” an imaginary boy in an image banned from Facebook because Facebook hates America. That wasn’t true, of course. But it was widely spread on numerous extreme right-wing Facebook Groups, some of which turned out to be powered by Russian troll farms.
I took numerous photos up on the hill that Memorial Day weekend. Most were shared only with close family and friends. I’m sharing some of them here today because I want you to see the real boy. He is now 19 years old and living in a country more deeply divided by partisan political rhetoric and rampant disinformation than I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime, a country reeling from the impact of a global pandemic.
The little boy above could never have imagined the state we find ourselves in on this Memorial Day. Neither could I. It troubles me greatly. Even so, today, I will honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy the fruits of liberty. And I will take comfort in a quote that I desperately need to be true.
“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.”William J. Clinton
Many of the photos found on this site and more may be purchased here: jeffturner.smugmug.com.