Visitors to the main page of this site should recognize the stone statues that frame the doorway in the photograph below. This doorway is so replete with fascinating detail, I could very well imagine it as the backdrop for some silver screen narrative. The burnt-out, broken neon “METRO” sign with its askew letter “E” adds to the film noir semblance of the edifice. Weighed down by the alcove above, the slightly larger-than-life stone statues, a cross between Greek classicism and socialist industrialism, seem like they would be at home in a Tim Burton film. What stories could these chiseled giants, given life’s breath, bear witness to?
In the lower left corner of the photo is a German shepherd who became somewhat of an unofficial mascot of our task force. In an environment where food is scarce, like war-torn Sarajevo, a dog is a nuisance; he is an unwelcome scavenger—yelled at, chased away, a target of angrily-thrown projectiles. Among the American soldiers, though, he found friendly greetings, scraps of food, and loving hands stroking his fur. Given the chance, this grateful canine would have followed us to Hell and back.
Turned toward the camera is Julie, a reservist, fellow artist, chess player, masseuse, and native Chicagoan, who also happens to be a convenient segue into the focus of this latest installment of my Sarajevo photos thread.
When we first arrived in Sarajevo, our leaders strongly enforced the “buddy system” for all incursions into the city and its environs. We could not sortie in parties of less than two, and each member had to be in uniform and armed. Anyone packing just a pistol had to have someone with a rifle alongside him or her.
The spring thaw brought a relaxed atmosphere to the city and a corresponding relaxation in regulations. We could now venture out and about in civilian clothing and leave our rifles behind as long as at least one member of the group agreed to be the “designated rifleman,” dressed, of course, in that stylish woodland camouflage battle dress uniform (BDU) that blends so well with the urban landscape.