Monday, November 23, 2009

Thematic Photographic - Orange

Each week Carmi at Written, Inc. has challenged readers with a theme for photographic inspiration. This week the photographic challenge continues with the theme ORANGE.

The American Military Museum in South El Monte, California, is an amazing collection of military vehicles, armaments, gear and just plain junk. We happened upon it on our trip to a recommended Vietnamese restaurant. As you drive by, you see tanks, camouflage netting, and huge pointy missiles. We saw it and decided to check it out. It's the perfect place for a family with a young boy-child - there are tanks, jeeps, guns and all kinds of military hardware. The color scheme is uniformly olive drab, gray, dun-colored ...except for this startling orange item.

This piece, number 152, is a non-recoverable, supersonic, air-launched missile target system designed to simulate invader aircraft and missile threats. It's officially known as an AQM-37A Target Drone System, manufactured by Beach Aircraft. It was used by the U S Army/US Navy for target practice. It's powered by one Rocketdyne/AMF lr64 dualchamber liquid-propellant rocket-engine.

We wandered around looking at everything, and although I enjoyed it, I felt uneasy, given our day's itinerary. It was an unsettling feeling, to visit a restaurant founded by a foreign refugee from a country torn by a US war, and then view a collection of artifacts, some of which were from that very war. What an odd juxtaposition.

Near the entry of the museum is a Huey helicopter that was salvaged from a 1969 crash in Vietnam.

It looks exactly like the one in this photo. This is the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon on April 30, 1979.

Do the cooks and waiters from Pho Minh drive to work each day, past the antique tanks and anti-aircraft guns, and remember those vehicles, the colors and shapes? Did their parents tell them stories? Do they see this hardware as something owned by an invader of their land, or do they see it as theirs, owned by their adopted government. Or are they so young it doesn't make an impression on them at all?

This is what is amazing about L.A. The bump and clash of cultures, the uncomfortable juxtaposition of conflicting views, the kaleidoscopic shifting of visions. It's not an easy place, but it's a place where meaning slaps you in the face unexpectedly. There is room for everything in this city.

And this is my ORANGE photo.


mo.stoneskin said...

I love the orange beast.

In the town we just moved from there is a river with lots of house boats, some of which are crazy. One of them has an old missile sticking out of the river bed beside it.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I just put up a picture of an orange beast at my place.

He was peaceful (at the time).

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

You certainly took orange on a different direction. You bring up an interesting topic...I do wonder what they think.


Life with Kaishon said...

I am deeply saddened for the loss of life by so many during the Vietnam war. What a great post. You always make me think. May your Thanksgiving be very special and filled with much thankfulness!