Below is what I wrote about this day two years ago. I am amazed that it has been two years since Tim was stolen from this world and from everyone that knew and loved him. As I said several times in the original post below, the only solace I have is he did die doing what he loved.
This week, someone I consider a friend, and a very close friend of Tim’s, Sebastian Junger released a documentary about Tim called “Which way is the front line from here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington” on HBO. A close friend of mine watched it and told me how emotional it made him and how much it moved him learning more of Tim’s background. Just reading his words about the film brought out pains in my heart. I haven’t watched it yet, but know I will need to soon one day. I am so glad Sebastian made this, and I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to do it.
Many knew Tim through his imagery, but few were lucky enough to know him as a person. I will always cherish my time talking to him in person, on email, the phone or on Facebook.
Even though it is a day for me to celebrate, it is and always will be a bittersweet day. It will be a day that the world as a whole had a little something stolen from it.
The flag in front of my house is at half-staff for you today brother!
The Trailer for “Which way is the front line from here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington”
I had been planning this post since yesterday. How was I going to blog about my birthday. My thoughts were to write about how 42 years ago today I took my first breath and saw my first light at Ft. Bragg NC to a young military family with a father home on emergency leave from serving as a Green Beret in Vietnam and a country girl mom who had grown up a lot in a short 10 years of marriage.
It was not common for soldiers to get to come home from war in Vietnam for the birth of their child, but since my mom had lost two other sons at birth, I was high-risk and they brought him home from the jungles of Vietnam or Laos or Cambodia or wherever he was at that time.
Yes I was gonna write a little about how Bouhammer came to be in this world and celebrating my birthday today with my family on a beach in South Carolina.
But all that changed a couple of hours ago when I saw a note on Facebook by my very good friend Matt Burden from Blackfive.net saying that a recent, but good friend of mine, Tim Hetherington had been killed in Libya.
As I sat by the pool in the warm sun, next to my wife while my youngest son swam nearby it was like someone had dropped a bucket of cold water on me from the top of the hotel. I sat right up and I think I let out a “you have got to be F@#$@ kidding me” or something probably close to that. It was just last night I was checking Facebook in the hotel and saw a posting from Tim saying he was in Libya doing what he loves to do, video and capture images from the war front so the rest of the world can see a glimpse of the horrors of war. When I saw his posting last night I dropped him a note asking him to be careful. More than likely it was too late, but who knows.
All I do know is that for a day last summer I got to be in his presence and do a great screening of RESTREPO in Albany, NY. Then we went out afterwards and closed a german pub together. He, Brendan O’Byrne from Battle Company, and my two team-mates from Afghanistan Prophet and Puss. Since that time Tim and I stayed in pretty good contact with each other, calling, emailing and texting every so often. He kept inviting me to come hang with him in NYC but the problem was he was usually never there when I was. I will miss that we never got that opportunity.
When he came out with this book INFIDEL, last year he made it a point to send me a signed copy. Needless to say that book and his words will be forever cherished.
Lastly I guess the only thing I can say and try to keep this on a positive note are that a mutual friend of Tim’s and mine and the reason I even got to know Tim sent me a very kind note with some great quotes from Tim that he said about me. She will never know how much that meant. I am forever grateful for that. I would also like to highlight again something my wife said today and that I mentioend earlier in this posting. “He died doing what he loved to do.” I guess in the grand scheme of things and with all the dumb ways to leave this earth that there are, there is no better way that that. In fact I am sure all of man-kind wishes for that to be the way, going out doing what you love to do.
God Speed my friend, you will surely be missed.