I’ve been where you are now and I know just how you feel. It’s entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that some day you can use the skill you have acquired here.
Suppress it! You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!
–William Tecumseh Sherman
Before I begin this post, I want to take a moment to address some criticisms that may occur in the comment section. The following post is not meant as a political statement in any way. Nor is it an endorsement of any armed conflict. This is about those people who choose to do what they believe in, regardless of the thoughts of others.
I don’t think in any period of documented history that there has been a time where the entire globe was at peace. Wars have been waged since the dawn of mankind, and will probably continue on long after everyone reading this is gone. While the reason wars occur vary widely, there is one constant in every conflict: the soldiers. The men and women who are either forced into service, born and raised in it, or volunteer for it, all have one thing in common. These men and women all put their lives on the line for a greater cause. Granted we have the luxury of looking back on the past and are able to place our own judgement on the validity of the causes, but in the moment, these people took a stand when ordered.
I realize that ModBlog has a global audience, but for the time being I’m going to be focusing on the US soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan. These brave soldiers have chosen to put their lives on the line for their country. Whether you believe that the war is justified, or should be stopped entirely, for the time being, these people are out there facing death each day. I know there are a lot of members (former and active) of the armed forces that read ModBlog, and hopefully some will be willing to share their stories with us. The reason I say this is because TIME Magazine recently did a photo essay on a number of troops stationed in Afghanistan. The one thing these men have in common is their love of tattoos. I hesitate to claim they love other mods, simply because I’m positive military regulations prevent them from possessing certain modifications such as piercings, and there’s no way to ascertain their personal feelings regarding modifications. That said, these men are on the front lines every day, and the shadow of death is constantly overhead. Here’s how some of them cope with their feelings about the situation they’re in.
Sergeant Paul Williams, 20
During a recent embed with Marines in Marjah, Afghanistan, photographer Mauricio Lima asked the men to share the stories behind their tattoos. Williams’ back features two bulldogs, animals frequently used to represent “Devil Dogs,” a nickname commonly applied to the Marines. The words on his shoulders are from the Dire Straits song “Brothers in Arms.”
Like I said earlier, no matter your personal feelings towards the current conflict in Afghanistan, there are men and women out there choosing to put their lives at risk for what they believe in, and for their friends and family back home. So take a moment to think about these soldiers, the people, who are standing up and living their lives how they want to. The way I see it, these soldiers are not only modifying their bodies to be who they want to be, but they’ve taken things a step further than a lot of other people who modify themselves; they have completely transformed their bodies and minds to become their own ideal. The way I see it, even if you don’t agree with the war, these soldiers are brave in not only standing up for what they believe in, but also for taking extreme steps to modify their minds and bodies.