Through our political leaders and the media at large – war is often reduced to hollow sound bytes, (When asked where the weapons of mass destruction were in Iraq, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replied with’ “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat”) or pixellated satellite images with colourful animated maps highlighting the “danger zones” in any specific country or location.
War is a constant danger zone and regardless of whether you agree with the concept of war or your political stance on the military in general – you have to pay respect to young men who join the armed forces to fight for their country.
It takes bravery, dedication and genuine courage to subscribe to essentially the most intense career in the world.
Every day, thousands of troops worldwide lose their lives in conflicts across the globe – fighting for a cause they believe in. And whilst some are lucky enough to return home to their families as heroes – there is little insight or visibility as to what its truly like being caught up in the centre of war.
The day to day events of being a solider, fighting any enemy you often can’t see, risking your life each day, being away from family and friends, walking head long into constant danger with your colleagues – through to the intense drills, training, lack of sleep and sheer physicality of carrying 30kg of equipment around with you each day. Make no mistake, being a solider is much more than shooting bullets and waving a flag.
With that in mind, we thought we would share with you these photographs which showcase the true reality of being a solider, not just in Iraq or Afghanistan – but anywhere in the world.
At the end of the day, regardless of the colour of your uniform, political leanings or the land on which you stand – together we all experience the same sense of fear, hope, loneliness, relief, guilt, loss and joy in our lives.
It’s just that as soldiers, these brave young men and women experience these feeling every minute, of every single day.