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AMERICAN HEROES PORTRAITS OF SERVICE
PHOTOGRAPHS OF BELMONT VILLAGE RESIDENT VETERANS BY THOMAS SANDERS
The power of portrait photography is immense and magical. A photographic portrait freezes an individual’s image in time and when it’s done right, it can transcend time altogether to reveal multiple, deeper dimensions of person and place.
Such are the photographs of Thomas Sanders who, in the fall of 2008, was first commissioned by Belmont Village to capture the portraits and stories of the servicemen and women who call Belmont Village home, predominantly from World War II, for permanent exhibitions at our communities. We have continued our Portraits of Service project for more than a decade—the project now consists of nearly 1,000 portraits and stories and is arguably the largest collection of its kind.
The ranks of living World War II veterans are in an inevitable decline. It is not unreasonable to think about these photographs as part of a larger narrative, a photographic chronicle of a generation that began in wartime with compelling images by the battlefield and home-front photographers of the day—Edward Steichen, Robert Capa, Joe Rosenthal, Dorothea Lange, Alfred Eisenstaedt—and finds its terminus with a photographer such as Sanders, who is equally compelled to capture this story, now in its final chapter.
At Belmont Village, we continue our recognition of all American heroes, past and present, through exhibits in our communities. We are grateful for the sacrifices of veterans and their families and are privileged to honor their bravery and selfless contributions in service to our country. Explore the portraits and stories of these American heroes below.
JEFFREY M. DEBEVEC
“A brilliant collaboration of historic stories told from a variety of American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who fought long and hard for the safety of their country.”
— The Photo Review