Every day veterans walk amongst us. Many are strangers, and some are our friends and family members.
Every one of them are from different backgrounds, race, color, religious creed, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age and education. They have all made sacrifices, some greater than others. Some have extraordinary stories of their lives in service, while others' time in the military was but a brief period in their lives at a crucial time in our nation’s history.
Maybe because they no longer wear a uniform they go unnoticed, and fade into the camouflage of everyday life. The general public may never know who these men and women are, nor the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation and our freedoms. They served with a love for our country, and had pride in doing so. For that reason alone, they all deserve recognition for their time in service.
With that purpose in mind, Veteran Voice Publisher Phil Galdys set out on a mission to photograph as many veterans as possible from his surrounding communities. Galdys, a United States Army veteran himself, is an accomplished photographer. But it wasn't until 2015 when he was approached by the Southeast Florida Honor Flight organization asking him to volunteer as their staff photographer did pressing his camera's shutter button take on a higher purpose.
Galdys has had, and continues to have, the privilege to meet and photograph hundreds of veterans from WW2, the Korean War and, increasingly, subsequent conflicts. Throughout the year, he flies with these special men and women to visit our nation’s capital and the memorials that were built in their honor, all the while documenting their experiences during their trip.
From these experiences, Galdys was compelled to find a way to include and recognize the veterans who served following the “Greatest Generation.” At that moment, the original idea for Portraits of Patriots developed.
With more than two decades of experience in producing community newspapers, Galdys is currently the publisher of Veteran Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers veterans’ affairs, events and profiles. The newspaper's readership was the ideal audience to begin the project. Though the project is still in its infancy, inquiries from veterans to participate has been growing daily.
If you know a veteran who deserves recognition for his or her service, regardless of the length of service or whether in peacetime or in combat, please visit portraitsofpatriots.com to learn how to participate in this project to pay recognition to our service members who gave so much to protect our American way of life.