Rolling ThunderXXIV - JMichael

“The Nam Era: Never Forgotten”

Artist Statement

“The Nam Era: Never Forgotten” exhibit is a veteran’s photographic tribute I started in 1997 at “The Wall” (The Vietnam Veterans Memorial) in Washington, DC, which shows us “Freedom Is Not Free”, as another part of my photojournalist journey.

The early Sunday morning walks into the depth and quietness of “The Wall” lets me personally visit and digitally capture veterans visiting names on “The Wall” that represent the real “Human Cost of Freedom”. The names of young men and women growing up too fast, fighting a war on foreign soils and in so many cases giving their own lives fighting for American freedom in the lands that some say God forgot, “Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia”. These digital images show friends and family members touching loved one’s names on “The Wall” and getting a rubbing of the name so they can remember, honor and keep their memory alive and to remind us that we still have POW-MIA’s in Vietnam. Many of the images are still in my head because I had to make decisions when to let an award-winning image go because a Vietnam vet’s personal privacy was much more important than a photo.

Exhibit visitors are welcome to touch these prints as if they were at standing in front of The Wall in Washington DC. While visitors read the names the on Wall, the patches on veterans’ vests, and the hats in these prints express bikers, civilians and veterans personal feeling. I encourage everyone to take as much time needed to understand the meanings of each print.

Being a freelance photojournalist allows me to journey to “The Wall” to meet, photograph and document stories told by Vietnam Veterans their friends, families and veterans, of other wars each Memorial Day weekend during Rolling Thunder events in Washington DC.

I am traditionally focused on the Harley-Davidson motorcycles and their riders as they cruise up and down Daytona’s Main Street. But today, I am pleased to present this selection of “The Nam Era: Never Forgotten” digital prints for your viewing pleasure. Remember; thank a veteran for your freedom.

J. Michael Johnson

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