In late August, the Veterans Portrait Project went to the American Legion Convention to photograph for four days. This would be the first time the VPP photographed in Baltimore, Maryland. Thanks to USAA, we were in the same area as them, photographing almost 400 veterans during our time there.
Conventions are always a packed time for us, where the wait is sometimes 45 minutes for the veterans to have their portraits taken. However, we have had many patient and kind ones to sit and strike up conversation with a fellow veteran. Whenever assistants can, we like to listen in or join in to hear what remarkable stories they are willing to share.
[Husband and wife (although not engaging in conversation, haha) wait with another veteran for their VPP photo to be made with Stacy Pearsall]
While we were there, we got to experience the American Legion Parade where every state had a post to represent them. We were getting some sun, so I personally decided to sit down at the curb to stay away from my fair skin being burned. I got to sit beside a veteran named Warren who was 87 years old. Every time an American flag was in the parade (as you can assume, there were many), he would take off his hat. Can I hear every reader say to themselves, “‘Merica!” after reading that?
[Veterans from one of the Texas American Legion posts recognize us and wave as they pass by in the parade]
Obviously, we meet very memorable veterans everywhere we go. At this convention, we have met a veteran who dresses as Davey Crockett to a Korean War veteran who can still do the twist with no problem. If we shared and could remember every story veterans have told us, our fingers would never stop typing.
[Stacy does the twist with veteran, Ron]
If you aren’t feeling even the slightest Patriotic when you leave an American Legion Convention, you’re doing it wrong. Again, thank you USAA for the opportunity to hear the amazing stories of American Legion members and to photograph their faces for serving our country.
[The VPP team for the American Legion Convention 2015: Ashley Brokop, Des’ola Mecozzi, Trish Barini, & last but not least, Stacy Pearsall]
© Behind the scene photos by Ashley Brokop and Des’ola Mecozzi, story by Des’ola Mecozzi