May 26, 2012

Fleet Week: War Remains Godly

Fleetweek kid rifle

Two photos stood out for me from this year’s Fleet Week coverage in New York, the thirtieth year Navy vessels have docked in town for sailors to tour the city and civilians to tour the ships. If the scenes aren’t new, what’s noteworthy is how ingrained the ritual has become. Bag first covered the event in 2007 with three post (1, 2, 3) featuring photos from Nina Berman.

Beyond the maritime aspect, what’s always more blatant is the Fleet Week beachhead the Marines have established, bringing weapons and heavy equipment into Times Square and park spaces in the overt marketing of militarism.

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 behind us and with the 9/11 wars phasing out, you might think it made sense to start rolling back the hardware and the glorification of killing. Instead, that boy’s look of admiration scares me more than the M4 he can barely hold up, the military trappings — the troops, the uniforms, the weaponry — seeming as much a part of the landscape, now, as baseball.

Fleet Week anointment

I also liked this shot. Applying war paint for a combat demonstration, the tightly-focused scene looks like an act of anointment. As battered from battle as the country is, war somehow remains Godly.

(photos: Andrew Burton/Reuters caption 1: Connor Kennedy, 7, from Farmingdale, New York, holds the M4 carbine rifle of a marine from 1st Battalion 9th Marines Charlie Company 2nd Platoon during a demonstration put together by the Marines as part of Fleet Week in East Meadow, New York, May 26, 2012. As part of the demonstration, Marines from the 1st Battalion 9th Marines Charlie Company 2nd Platoon flew in a V-22 Osprey from New York to Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York and stormed a field, where civilians could watch the demonstration. Marines spoke to civilians after the demonstration and civilians could tour various aircraft, including the V-22 Osprey.caption 2 (excerpt): A Marine from the 1st Battalion 9th Marines Charlie Company 2nd Platoon puts camouflage paint on his face before a tactical demonstration.)

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Michael Shaw
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