Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rest in Peace, Tim.

Tim Hetherington, co-director of the documentary "Restrepo" about U.S. Soldiers on an outpost in Afghanistan, was killed Wednesday inside the  rebel-held city Misrata in western Libya.

While Tim Hetherington’s death is no more a tragedy than any of those suffered by American men and women during our history of wars, he deserves to be remembered as someone who risked his own life in an attempt to remind Americans of the trials and huge sacrifices endured by the troops who actually volunteered and traveled around the world to protect our freedoms.

Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington

Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, was also killed Wednesday. Hetherington and Hondros were with two other photographers when all four were hit by either a rocket propelled grenade or a high explosive mortar round. All four survived the initial blast but Hetherington and Hondros later died of their wounds. Hetherington, 40, was killed a day after he tweeted: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."  I take his tweet as just a statement of fact, nothing more or less.

Hetherington, along with Junger, were nominated for an Academy Award for his 2010 documentary film "Restrepo."

The film was co-directed by Sebastian Junger (above), author of "The Perfect Storm."
“There is no way to express my devastation and sorrow at the death of my dear friend,” Junger said in a statement. He added, “I can’t believe he’s truly gone.”

Some of Tim's work:

A lone Soldier in the Korengal Valley

Afghanistan 2007-2008

Dan Kearney

Infidel is Hetherington's intimate photo essay of the U.S. Army platoon  featured in the film 'Restrepo'. If you haven't seen the film, or the photo essay 'Infidel' or read Sebastian Junger's book 'War", I highly recommend all three. 'Restrepo' tells the story of the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company in the 173rd Airborne Combat Team on its deployment in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. The title refers to the platoon outpost, named after a popular Soldier, Juan Restrepo, who was killed early in the fighting. We're at war," Hetherington said in an interview with the AP before the Oscars. "We wanted to bring the war into people's living room and put it into the movie theaters, and get people to connect with it. It's not necessarily about moral outrage. It's about trying to understand that we're at war and try to understand the emotional terrain of what being at war means." 'Restrepo' is an unflinching look at what our soldiers are going through on a daily basis,with one huge exception; It is not about politics.It is about day to day survival and fighting for the guy next to you. Parts of 'Restrepo' are very hard to watch, but it needs to be seen.

U.S. Army Major Dan Kearney, who was prominently featured in Hetherington and Junger's 'Restrepo', said that in his time with the troops, Hetherington became family. "Tim wasn't just a friend, he was a brother to me."

Timothy (Tim) Hetherington 5 December 1970 – 20 April 2011

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