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San Francisco, California, USA
Veteran US Navy Pilot, May 2006
Taken at: The Veteran’s Home of California, Yountville.
I was starting a project that highlighted the lives of veterans from previous conflicts, such as World War II, Vietnam, and Korea, in contrast to all the news that was circulating at the time about veterans from the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts. It came to me that there is a large population of senior veterans, living at homes such as this one at Yountville, in the heart of Napa Valley’s wine growing region, that in many cases, have been forgotten by everyone including their own families. This photograph was taken during a rare opportunity to visit the home’s hospital facilities, where aging veterans are provided different levels of care depending on their needs. This former US Navy pilot, who had served during World War II, could not speak very well, but was all too willing to share his happy memories in the form of the portrait he is holding up, showing him preparing for another sortie. In many cases, memories are all these senior veterans have.