KBTX | Bryan, Texas Content

A salute to neighborhood veterans captured in a flash

By  | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Photographer Bruce McCamish captured one worth a thousand stories.

Every Veterans Day, the veterans of Sequoyah Hills neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee come together for a picture. They're different ages, served in different wars, in different branches of the military. Strangers, yet brothers.

McCamish hears stories of soldiers, stories of sailors and stories of service while he is taking the pictures.

"Let's have everybody hands down right over left wrist," McCamish organized the group of men standing together, ready to have their pictures taken. "Give me more right shoulder towards me. Ready, one, two, three."

"What branch did you serve in?" McCamish asked the group.

"Navy," one responded.

"Marines," said the next.

"Army," another said.

"I went to Norfolk, Virginia and got on a helicopter and went out to sea," reflected Wayne Christensen, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1971.

"I was in the infantry, spent a lot of time overseas," said Mark Sheffer.

Sheffer, a graduate of The Citadel, served in the United States Marines Corps from 1982 to 1986.

You can't stop time.

"In 2011, I deployed to Afghanistan," said Joshua Moss, a U.S. Navy commander from 2008-2016.

But in a flash, you can capture a moment.

"Even though it was a troubling time, I've never been ashamed of that and I feel grateful that I had the opportunity to do that," said Bryce Giesler about his time serving in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1973.

Behind their eyes, their smiles and for some, their wrinkles, each flash captures courage, bravery and sacrifice.

There were Navy, there were Army and Marine Corps, they were enlisted, they were officers. They were military physicians," said Sheffer about the diversity of the group.

"I see men who have sacrificed a lot, sacrificed more than I did. Twenty-one years, long times of service, serving through major war times." said Moss. "I think people like that, men and women are the backbone of our country."

Catherine Sheffer isn't a veteran, but she's married to one, and makes sure the group gets together each year, even just for a flash.

"I get to learn all these stories about everybody in our neighborhood that's served, done such great things for our country and it is touching," she said.

Because a commitment to freedom deserves a commitment in return.

"A lot of veterans feel like they've been forgotten. To have somebody that's almost a stranger say, 'Hey, come down and let's say thank you for your service,' it's a very kind thing and it feels good. It feels good to be here," said Giesler.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one is worth two. Thank you.

Read the original version of this article at local8now.com.