From the Post #5 Series, 2013

inkjet print, 20 inches by 20 inches; 28” x 28” framed

XAVIER TAVERA

Minneapolis, MN
www.xavier-tavera.com

Post #5 is a series of portraits of Mexican and Mexican-American war veterans who now returned to live in St Paul’s West Side neighborhood.

My purpose in photographing war veterans is not to romanticize them as war heroes but to focus on telling their stories of these men and women who came back from conflict.

I am intrigued to hear their stories about being on the battlefield and the process of transition when they returned from war. They were affected greatly by their personal struggles related to reintegration into society and racism. Many people in the United States do not comprehend the concept of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans fighting in World War II so there is a lack of comprehension from their own community and immediate family.

I hope to bring some awareness regarding how difficult the process of returning from war is on the veterans. The majority of Mexican-Americans from Minnesota who have fought in a war currently reside in the Saint Paul’s West Side community. The community has suffered greatly as many sons and daughters followed a similar path as their parents and have gone to war so that there are generations of veterans living in the area.

“As Mexican American veterans we seem to be invisible and what we want to do is to promote inclusion,” Michael Medina said.

The purpose of these portraits is to help tell the stories of these individuals and their struggles returning from war. The portraits serve as a memorial that help us remember and are intended to not let us forget. The images together are a resource for remembering. This is greatly needed as the veterans fears they will be forgotten.