Photography exhibit stirs emotions about Vietnam

August 27, 2014
John Hosier Jr. speaks about a photograph titled "The Guys."

John Hosier Jr. speaks about a photograph titled “The Guys.”

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

LUDINGTON — John Hosier, Jr. grew up in Big Rapids listening to the tales of World War II from his father and uncles. In January 1967 it was John’s time to serve his country. He enlisted into the Army and was assigned as a paratrooper. In late 1967 he was injured while serving with a long range reconnaissance platoon with the Airborne Rangers.

He was re-assigned as a clerk, and hated it. So, he complained to his first sergeant, a lot. Eventually, the sergeant decided to put Hosier back out in the field, this time as a photographer.

“I didn’t know anything about photography,” Hosier told a small audience Tuesday night at City Park. “I didn’t know what an F-stop was or even what a 35mm camera was.”

For the next 10 months he served as a combat photographer, capturing various aspects of the Vietnam war.

“I experienced more as a combat photographer than I did as a combatant,” he said.

A VIP presentation was held Tuesday night in a tent that features an exhibit of Hosier’s photographs entitled “Through the Eyes.” The exhibit is part of the Mason County Allied Veterans’ Wall Project that officially kicks off Wednesday afternoon. The focal point of the project is the traveling Vietnam Memorial wall, which will arrive around 4:30

p.m. after being escorted from Hart by dozens of motorcyclists. The wall will be on display through Aug. 31.

“Through the Eyes” is an exhibit designed to honor the men and women who lost their lives and served in the Vietnam War. The exhibit presents both the images of military personnel, as well as the items they carried and used during their time in country. The exhibit allows visitors a chance to view more than 2,000 items, read about the events and people that used them and depicted in the photographs. The exhibit preserves the history, legacy and selfless duties performed by those members of the armed forces. This exhibit has traveled to more than 300 cities across the United States in 46 states.

For decades Hosier’s Vietnam photos were only seen by family members. In 1999, at the urging of his daughter, Hosier displayed several photos for classmates at her school. The exhibit which started with just enough items to cover one table now fills an entire tent with over 300 photographs and dozens of displays that feature American and Vietnamese weapons and memorabilia.


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