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A True American Hero

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This morning Anna and I got up and headed to the Roselawn Cemetery here in Decatur, AL for the Memorial Day remembrance service. I finally had the opportunity to make a portrait of someone who is truly one of my heroes. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time.

In January of 1940 an eighteen-year-old John Burnett joined the National Guard Reserves and 9 months later was mobilized in the United States Army's 30th Infantry Division. In June of 1943 he transferred to the 2nd Ranger Battalion. On June 6th, 1944 at France's Pointe du Hoc he was part of the D-Day invasion. The very next day while working a U.S. reconnaissance outpost his group came under attack and Mr. Burnett was wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. They moved him frequently and refused to treat his wounds. At one of his stops he was being guarded by a German soldier who decided to go to sleep. In Mr. Burnett's words, "He took a nap and he never woke up". The German had underestimated a wounded American soldier. Two members of the French underground saw his escape and helped him return to American lines. He was missing in action and a prisoner of war for 72 days. He returned to his unit and continued to fight until the war ended on May 8th of 1945.

Mr. Burnett's story is an incredible one and I am so thankful that Anna and I got to sit with him today at lunch and hear it.

This is the face of a true American hero.

True Hero 2

True Hero 3

To meet Mr. Burnett today you might not think that this sweet man was ever capable of some of the things he had to do to survive his time as a prisoner. But when I got home today and edited these pictures this image gave me a glimpse into the eyes of John Burnett in 1944.

True Hero 1

posted by Dave
Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Anonymous Vicki said...

David -
These pictures of John Burnett are awesome.
It was a wonderful, heartwarming and fun day with you all.
Thank you for honoring one of America's true hero's.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Gary Cosby Jr said...

All three photos are really nice but that last one is stunning. A portrait is supposed to capture the essence of the person and when I see that photo it speaks volumes. I don't think I would want to guard him even now!

8:16 AM  
Blogger TylerJ said...

... how absolutely amazing! In every great photograph I believe there is a great story behind it. Being able to capture this is pure art.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

David -
Isn't Mr. Burnett just the sweetest man you've ever met? I adore him and miss seeing him at church. The photos you took are truly amazing! I enjoy your website and check it often. You and Anna do an excellent job! -Elizabeth Gentle

8:55 PM  

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