The first three pictures today come from Eileen Liu, an incoming MIA student.
The first was taken in Banff, Alberta, Canada. This picture captures the two things that the word “Alberta” brings most often to my mind: the beautiful Rocky Mountains and the province’s wealth of oil.
The second picture was taken in a rural village in Kenya. Most pictures of children in Africa show them with somber faces staring with melancholy eyes into the camera. But this pictures shows that laughter, smiles and enthusiastic thumbs-ups are also a very large part of their lives.
The last was taken in Tokyo, Japan. Although cherry blossoms are an annual phenomenon in Japan, the locals still flock to these public parks every year to admire the beautiful flowers.
The next three photos come from N. E. “Rudy” Rickner, an admitted MIA student.
July, 2002. Chuuk Islands, FSM. While most of the military was busy elsewhere in 2002, my squadron was assigned to “reach out” to the remote populations of the south Pacific. We landed on about 20 remote islands. This group of islands is Chuuk (formerly known as Truk) which is part of the Fed. States of Micronesia.
July, 2002. Chuuk Islands, FSM. Mostly impoverished and isolated from technology, these children from Chuuk enthusiastically welcomed us. I still can’t quite grasp the contrast of worlds that collided when we arrived, yet we enjoyed warm welcomes and well wishes from everyone we encountered.
February, 2006. Ramadi, Iraq. I took this picture on a foot patrol through the central market area of Ramadi, Iraq. I was unaware of the contrast I captured when I snapped it. While the young Marine is focused and aware of the danger he is in, the old man sits calmly smoking his cigarette. He has an expression that conveys a tired understanding. Unlike the Marine with the weapon, he doesn’t feel threatened at all.
The next two photos come from Massimiliano Costa, incoming MIA student.
The first photo was taken in Baku, Azerbaijan. This photo was taken during the summer of 2008 in an oil field located a few miles from the city of Baku, on the Caspian Sea. This was the only blade of grass in that wasteland.
The second photo was taken in Xinjiang, China. In the desert between China and Kazakhstan, this peaceful lake lies in a valley still inhabited by nomadic people.