Some stories were emotional, such as that of Clint Westbrook, who served in
the Navy during WWII and is a survivor of the USS Arizona that was attacked
at Pearl Harbor. He had recently embarked on a friendship tour to Tokyo at which
USS Arizona survivors attended. Westbrook encountered a former Japanese pilot
from the attack, who spoke to him via an interpreter. According to Westbrook
in Veteran Voices, "we spoke for a bit, then he pointed to heaven and
said, `now I can go up.'"
Singer today, who describes himself as a "backyard archaeologist,"
in the midst of his collection of bottles.
Of the 47 veterans in the book, only four were women. One of them, former
Army nurse Evelyn "Mickey" Gilberg, was a neighbor of Dusenbery's.
He says, "She gave a great perspective from a female point of view."
In her interview, she related, "My one-year voluntary Army duty lasted
almost five years on two continents and six countries."
On the other hand, Dusenbery says, some stories were more matter-of-fact. "A
few conversations were pretty gruesome--this is what they had to do, and
it's what they did."
Dusenbery started this book project about five years ago, and worked on it "as
time permitted between photo assignments." He also decided to self-publish
the book. "I knew the process, and realized it would take a very long
time to find a publisher. I would have liked to have invested more money in
it, but I'm pretty happy with the result." Most importantly, he
says, he just wanted to tell the vets' stories. "My intention was
never to create this book as a moneymaker."
as a Major, CO 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron.
Dusenbery says he enjoys listening to stories by the elderly, and is considering
other projects, perhaps something on "senior citizens in general, or Korean,
Vietnam or Gulf War veterans."
There are numerous journals and oral histories in print about WWII veterans,
acknowledges Dusenbery. However, his book is unique because of the combined
images and written history. He feels that it would be difficult to classify
in bookstores--"It's part sociology, part history, and part
photography." Veteran Voices stands as a great tribute to WWII veterans
in Florida; these senior citizens that once "gave up their youth and carefree
living to attend to matters of the world."
To order a copy of "Veteran Voices," contact Eric Dusenbery at Dimensions
Photography at (407) 849-5100, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.