Photographer-writer Brian Palmer went to Iraq for six weeks in 2004 to follow the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He posted his observations weekly on PixelPress so that families in the United States could better understand the lives of their loved ones serving in Iraq. The chess game with a U.S. soldier and two translators, the “turkey object” that they were served so unlike the ceremonial turkey that President Bush held up while visiting the troops at Thanksgiving, the transformation from civilian Goth to institutional Marine, all brought back the war in ways that were intimate and useful. 
Linked to by “www.marinemoms.com,” it was as if the photographer had become an extra set of eyes representing the families. This photography was not of strangers for strangers but of a community for those who did not make the trip.
When a young woman’s boyfriend was killed in Iraq, the photograph became essential as the last testament to his existence. “I saw the article, ‘Digital Diary Witnessing the War,’ last week and was hoping to see it again. Is there any way I can get a copy of it? My daughter’s boyfriend was with that unit and she did not get an opportunity to see the diary. Unfortunately he was the young Marine who was mentioned in the 6th week because he was killed. We would be VERY interested in having a copy of the full six weeks if at all possible.”

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