I feel ill-equipped to add much to the many poignant, heartfelt and eloquently written memorials others have posted for Chris and Tim. Yet, if I don't get something down on paper now, I know I will forget how I'm feeling, and forget the details of the horrible week when Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed while covering the fighting in Misrata, Libya.
Like so many others, I was shocked and sickened by the news. I remember reading that first tweet Wednesday morning and calling Jay at work. Surely it couldn't be true. Then following the thread back to facebook where the news first broke. I was sickened to think of Chris and Tim's families getting this news the way the rest of us were. As Teru Kuwayama so eloquently wrote, the social media world does not have the same rules as the military when it comes to announcing when someone was killed in action. We are navigating new waters. Maybe there was no better alternative. Maybe the news needed to be spread quickly to ensure that Chris and Tim's bodies would get out of Misrata quickly. But still, it felt so wrong.
My other first reaction was "not again." Are the journalists who give up their lives to tell important stories really helping? Are people's minds really changed? Does public policy change? Of course I want to believe it does. Again, someone else explained how I was feeling better than I could myself. Thank you David Alan Harvey.
I remember discovering my dad's copy of Philip Jones Griffith's Vietnam, Inc. when I was a kid. I must have been 12 or so. It sounds cliche but it really changed my life. I learned that the world is full of horrible things happening, things my protected existence had no idea about.
And it taught me that there are people who risk their lives, unarmed, to document those horrible things. Photojournalists. Later on I would move to NYC and surround myself with these kinds of people. Our generation's war photographers.
The photojournalism community is small, and the time Jay and I spent in NYC bred so many friendships. I imagine all of the pain our community is feeling around the world, the pain of Chris and Tim's families. The hoping and wishing that it was all just a rumor.
But it was true.
So many people have shared their memories of Chris and Tim. Thank you Sebastian Junger, Andrew Hetherington, John Kerry, CJ Chivers, James Pomerantz, Peter van Agtmael, Greg Campbell, Nicole, Tim, Spencer and Gary and many others for documenting what's in your hearts at this very emotional time.
I am so sad for everyone who loves Chris and Tim and whose lives were touched by the kind of men they were. But their images have created a legacy.
As my favorite band once sang, "There is a light and it never goes out".
In lieu of flowers, the loved ones of Chris Hondros kindly request donations be made to The Chris Hondros Fund. This fund will provide scholarships for aspiring photojournalists and raise awareness of issues surrounding conflict photography.
The Chris Hondros Fund
c/o Christina Piaia
50 Bridge Street #414
Brooklyn, New York 11201