"The photo of Major Beiger cradling the Iraqi girl, Farah, was the people's choice the first week of May, 2005," reports Michael Yon re his heart-stopping photograph of the fatally wounded child cradled in the arms of an American soldier that is leaving the other Time Mag people's-choice photos of the year in the dust. Go here to put your vote where your heart is. Michelangelo's Mary cradling her son and Kathe Kollwitz's "Mother with dead child" (below) come to mind.
While the MSM slept, Michael Yon -- the self-employed, reader-empowered embedded journalist blogger reporting from the front -- captured the spirit of the age in one amateur photograph that has touched the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens in spades:
At the end of the year, the ten photographs that polled the highest numbers during the year are selected as finalists and readers and visitors are given the opportunity to determine their choice for photo for the year. It was a tremendous honor to learn that this photograph was among those images most often selected by people; especially when I saw all the other photos, which are all amazing images.
Any US soldier who has ever served in combat can probably give countless examples of moments like this. I just happened to be on the scene that day when a terrorist who had been trailing a Deuce Four patrol in a car packed with explosives waited until a crowd of children had gathered around the soldiers and selected that moment to drive into the crowd and detonate.
You don't have to know anything about art -- or even the Bible -- to find yourself overwhelmed with emotion in the presence of Michelangelo's marble sculpture "Pietà" (1498–99) in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Jesus lies lifeless in the arms of his mother, Mary, after the crucifixion. The heaviness of her son's lifeless body weighs oppressively upon her, the angular lights and darks, ins and outs of the folds of her garment a muscular expression of her mental anguish.
The competing images in Time's online competition are visually compelling -- beautiful and in some cases sublime and in all cases technically awesome -- but they lack the heart and soul of Michael Yon's snapshot from the front. Like Michelangelo's Pieta (above) and the Lacrymosa movement of Mozart's Requiem, it speaks directly to our humanity and leaves us in unconsolable tears:
Day of sadness, day of mourning,
From the dust of earth returning,
Man for judgement must prepare him;
Spare, O God, in mercy, spare him.
Lord who didst our souls redeem.
Grant a blessed requiem, Amen.
Is it too impossibly pretentious and silly of us to say that blogging is the only thing that makes our own life bearable?