Photo Exhibit Captures Soldiers' Camaraderie, Sacrifice

POSTED: 5:47 pm EDT May 14, 2008
UPDATED: 6:36 pm EDT May 14, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A tribute to soldiers and Marines opened to the public Wednesday at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery.

The photo exhibit called "The American Soldier - A Photographic Tribute to Soldiers and Marines" shows more than 150 years of service. One hundred and sixteen photographs capture American military personnel in nine wars.

"I started with the Civil War, because that's when the camera first came onto the battle field in America," said Cyma Rubin, exhibit curator.

The photos share common themes. In some, the soldiers and Marines are greeted as liberators and protectors.

"You take the faces from the boys in the Civil War, and you put them onto the bodies, the faces of the boys in Iraq. It's the same face," Rubin said. "The only thing that's different are the uniforms and weaponry."

The photos capture the courage and camaraderie of military personnel. Rubin pointed out a photo showing troops drinking German beer.

Ralph Crosby, the CEO of E.A.D.S, which is underwriting the exhibit, is a Vietnam veteran.

"To me, it's inspirational because it really captures the sacrifices that these men and women make for U.S. ideals and principles," said Crosby.

"It just captures a lot of stuff that you don't think about," said U.S. Air Force Commanding Sgt. Jim Clemenson. "Some of these are very stark. They've got some pictures here that show the suffering and pain of war, and it's always good to capture that and let people know what kind of sacrifices these men have made for them."

The exhibit also shows how the role of women in the military has evolved.

It's a salute, not only to soldiers and Marines, but to battlefield photographers.

"They're there for us. We're not there," Rubin said.

Many of the photographers won Pulitzer Prizes, and some were killed on the battlefield.

The exhibit, which is at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the entrance to Arlington Cemetery, is free and open to the public through Labor Day.

To see samples of the images, visit the exhibit's Web site