Images of Iraq

8:37:23 AM CDT - Thursday, March 11, 2004

By Shannon Littlejohn

JPEG Image (250x168)Photojournalist Travis Heying took this photo during a Shiite protest near a mosque in Baghdad on Oct. 7, 2003. As the soldiers stood their ground against an angry crowd, Heying spotted the children peering out at them.

Heying, a Wichita Eagle photographer who was assigned to cover the war in Iraq by Knight-Ridder, The Eagle's parent corporation, will share the stories behind this and other compelling photos in a slide talk from 7- 9 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at 210 McKnight Art Center West. A reception will follow at the Ulrich Museum of Art.

In a November appearance for the Kansas professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Heying spoke easily and eloquently of his time in Iraq. Prior to that, the articles and photos he sent home kept Eagle readers riveted as they saw the human side of the war.

Heying spent Aug. 24 to Oct. 29 in Iraq in what he freely admits was a life-changing experience. His wife, Teresa Veazey, an Ulrich Museum staffer, encouraged him to keep a journal.

Excerpts from his journal accounts appeared in The Wichita Eagle on Nov. 23, 2003. Toward the end, he wrote:

"It's time to go home now. When 10 charred and bloody car-bomb victims with flies buzzing all over them don't get to me, it's time to go home."

"I was 29 when I left; now I'm 30. I feel a lot older. I used to care about the Nebraska Cornhuskers being 7-1 going into a game against Texas. I used to care about what new blockbusters were coming to the big screen."

"All that seems so trivial now."

"Yesterday I stood in a hospital where a man lay wounded from the bomb attacks. His four children came one by one and sobbed."

And finally:

"I hope when I come home the smell of fall and the pace of Kansas heals me."

"The strange thing is, I'll want to come back."

"I care about making sure that people back home see what's going on here. I've realized how powerful journalism can be."

"But first I need to care about small things again."

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