Critical Mass Top 50, 2010

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Jessica Hines

http://www.jessicahines.com


Untitled #1, My Brother's War

Untitled #3, Chapter 6: The Reunion

Untitled #7, Chapter 6: The Reunion

Untitled #8, Chapter 7: I Pray For Your Spirit

Untitled #7, Chapter 7: I Pray For Your Spirit

Untitled #1, Chapter 5: The Reflection

Untitled #12, Chapter 5: The Reflection

Untitled #7, Chapter 7: I Pray For Your Spirit

Untitled #11, Chapter 7: I Pray For Your Spirit

Untitled #10, Chapter 7: I Pray For Your Spirit
Jessica Hines

In 1967 my brother, Gary, was drafted into the US Army during the Viet Nam War. Because our parents were ill and Gary was our caretaker, I was sent to live with numerous families over the years. On November 4th, my brother arrived in Qui Nhon, Viet Nam. I rarely saw him again until I was grown. Gary wrote many letters home while he was stationed in Viet Nam. Pictures arrived. Although in his letters he spoke of his living quarters and described the helicopters he piloted into the front lines, he rarely discussed the dangers. Discharged from the army in December of 1969 with a “service connected nervous disorder”, he came to know his problem as “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. My pre-war brother, a normal and well-adjusted person had become, according to the US Veteran’s Administration, 50% disabled. He took his own life ten years later. Twenty-five years after his death, I discovered among his belongings, a memo pad that revealed the names and addresses of his wartime friends, some of whom, with diligence, I have managed to contact – 35 years after the war. More recently, I paid tribute to Gary at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. and I attended a reunion of Gary's comrades from Viet Nam, the 178th and the 132nd Assault Support Helicopter Companies in Ocean City, Maryland. After sending information to them about my search, one man wrote to say that he indeed remembered Gary, and included a never before seen photograph of him. Through the remembrances of his wartime friends and through my own journeys to Vietnam in 2007 and 2008, I retraced Gary’s “footsteps” using his letters and photographs to serve as guides. I plan to revisit Viet Nam with the hope of finding his mysterious lover whom I first learned of by her written passages left for him in a book. I continue to make discoveries about wartime in Vietnam as experienced by its veterans. The visual record of those experiences continues to unfold.