These events have brought us to a new direction that we have been, more or less, forced into considering. That being said, We feel this should have been our goal from the beginning. We have decided that it has become necessary to be the Project's eyes on the ground and devote the summer of 2011 to traveling to as many areas of Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait as we can and are allowed to by the powers that be.
I know this may sound a bit out there, but the success of this Project absolutely depends on it. We believe that in the course of the past 9 months, we have made enough friends and contacts, many in key positions that can help our new directive, that our success of achieving this travel is better than the odds of the Project's success in the hands of others.
Now, this does NOT mean that we will no longer be accepting submissions. On the contrary, we are still looking for service members and civilians to submit their photos. We are still looking to sponsor service members downrange with our "Soldiers-on-Assignment" campaign.
That being said, this new directive will ensure we capture a wide variety of artistic expression and we are no longer at the mercy of our inability to raise effective awareness of the Project. We know what we are looking for and it will ensure we get a diverse range content. This takes the guess work and uncertainty of the content out of the equation and more importantly, speeds up our timetable of completion. Which brings me to my final point, the fact that due to recent changes in foreign policy, we are on the brink of losing a large portion of these images with the withdraw of US troops from Iraq by 2012. We have less than a year to document them after which we will lose this window into the minds of those enduring these conflicts. The bridge we plan to build between service members and civilians vanishes, this cultural phenomena lost to this generation and those to come.
This project has grown to be more than just an idea to many of us and many of you. My commitment to this project runs deep because so do my wounds of PTSD. Raising awareness of how these conflicts have affected me, us, those who have come before us and those who will follow in our boot-steps when we are faint memories, is bigger than this project. However, it is our hope that this is a step in the right direction and we are committed to ensuring that
proverbial step becomes a tangible reality.
As this new directive takes shape and we know more, we will update you. In the mean time, PLEASE, help us spread the word of our intentions, our ideas and most importantly the needs of the Project. Send us your questions, your comments, and MOST importantly, YOUR IDEAS!! We could never have gotten this far without our most important partner, all of you. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to what lies ahead.
Jaeson "Doc" Parsons