Curt Bozif - First in-last out (2007)
My father served a two-year stint as a U.S. Marine and survived a thirteen-month combat tour of Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. Forty years later, as my father revisited his involvement in the war, he told me that he wanted to get a second tattoo, one that would commemorate his service in the Marine Corp and in the theatre of Vietnam. I asked if I could be there and document the event, culminating, eventually, in a ten-minute video entitled First In-Last Out. Though I supported my father's wish for a new tattoo, I was still utterly confussed. How could a man that I grew up listening to speak about the war with such contempt want to permanently mark his body in commemoration of it? I began to ask what things have and have not changed and why? What things had he left behind and what things had he brought back with him? In an attempt to answer some of these questions I asked my mother if she'd kept the letters he'd sent to her and, if she didn't think them too personal, if I could please read them. In fact she had kept every one (I should have known, our family keeps everything) and she gave me permission to go through them. What I discovered answered few of my questions. What it did do was put into greater relief my inability to comprehend the gap between how my father was literally marked by his experience then and his relationship to it now.
12 15 2007