To All the Ships at Sea
Anyone that follows my blogs knows I’ve only done two blogs since August 5th. One blog was on the birthday of my son Joseph and the second a tribute to a great photographer Bill Eppridge, one of my heroes and a friend. I’ve taken a hiatus for my blogs for a very specific reason which I will announce at the end of next month.
I just received a phone call from my friend’s daughter, Susan. When I saw the name on my phone my heart stopped. She said “Joe,”, ” I said please don’t tell me ,” and “she said yes.” I know Blogs are not meant to be about the dead. They should be about the living and in my case they should be about photography and filmmaking. If it wasn’t for my son Joseph and photographers like Bill Eppridge and visionaries like Jess Weiss my ability to make a photograph or do a film would be hindered to say the least. These are people in my life that have inspired, motivated and helped me understand the meaning of being on this blue marble for a short period of time. Fifteen years ago my phone rang and it was Jess Weiss. He asked me to write his eulogy. I was surprised, horrified, and frightened. Like Jess would always do, he put my mind at ease. He wasn’t sick he just wanted to make sure I’d be prepared for this day. First a short history – Jess was 97 years old the last book he wrote was –
Warrior to Spiritual Warrior the autobiography of Jess E. Weiss, one of the few living combat soldiers who survived the D-day landing on Omaha Beach. His experiences in Europe’s most famous battles were only the beginning of Weiss’ amazing story. He returned home from war to find himself facing a new battle, with the trauma that is known today as PTSD. A debilitating condition unrecognized in WW II, that led him to the most profound and transcendent spiritual journey imaginable.
Warrior to Spiritual Warrior is the post war memoir story of the journey Jess took as he rebuilt and reshaped his life. From the battlefields of WW II to his attempts to build a new spiritual foundation, Jess Weiss’ story is an unvarnished and stark portrait that will horrify, shock, illuminate, and ultimately liberate your faith in the strength of the human heart to heal and transcend the past..
If you follow my blogs you know I use the same expression over and over – you know I’m the luckiest man in the world. I’ve always had people to go to – a go to person for sports, for photography, for filmmaking, for writing and so on. Jess was my Go to Person for spiritual advisement and support. He guided me through some of the darkest days in my life. In a seven year period I lost my mother, father, brother, my son and nine close friends. His guidance, words, and beliefs helped me deal. I was honored to have him use one of my photos at the end of the remake of one of his books “The Vestibule” The photo below was an original tribute to my father’s memory. I think that Jess would be fine with it being repurposed in his memory. He is still with us and will continue to be with me and in my heart forever. Thank you my friend, you are a true American Hero.