The Life and More Life of Tim Hetherington

Our friend Warrior Life Coach once wrote: “…we can define the date, rather than letting it define us.”  This brings to mind how friends have responded to the passing of Tim Hetherington back in 2011, and what they’re doing now. 

There’s a flurry of news about Tim now, with not one, but two documentaries about his life . One was recently on television, the other is at Sundance now.   He was dynamic and one couldn’t help but be inspired. HIs death hit everyone hard, and everyone had their own way of dealing with his passing. The men of COP Restrepo had as many ways as there were individuals. But one thing that was noticeable was the support they gave each other over on Facebook, which continues still. They’re a tight knit bunch, and born from the COP Restrepo is a brotherhood that runs deep.

TimLivesWarRetreat was started shortly after Tim’s death. We gathered a handful of combat photographers in Boston for a day of yoga, acupuncture and massage. Hurricane Irene blew in, and cut it short, but we managed to push through an important message about taking care of yourself –especially when continually going in and out of areas where there is violence. Today, WarRetreat exists primarily as a place for people to find out about stress reduction through yoga, related issues, and champion the hard work of organizations that are working with veterans. We’ve partnered with different organizations, and have a fine team at the helm. We’re discussing doing a WarRetreat near Ft. Campbell –the last post Tim visited that would reach out to veterans and families with an emphasis on stress reduction through movement & breath. It’s early still, but we’re hopeful we can get it going later this summer. 

My work on High Ground builds upon the experience gained from working on Restrepo. In fact, surpassing what we did on that film, and doing the outreach to organizations that I know he would have delighted in. His friend Mike Kamber got the Bronx Documentary Center off the ground, and held two shows honoring Tim. He does really important work, bringing together the local community through art, photography, and film. It’s such a dynamic place, you should follow them on Facebook. FYI, In April, High Ground plays at the BDU for veterans in the Bronx & beyond. Idil lives in Africa now, continuing to forge her own path as a filmmaker and storyteller. She’s started a new venture in memory of Tim called TWINE. We’ll talk about this storytelling through film adventure when we have more of the details.

Sebastian Junger started RISC –an  advanced first aid training for journalists who go into conflict and combat zones.  He’s raising awareness of the risks journalists take to get the story in war, and conflicts. This week, he’s also showing his new film at Sundance called:  “Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? The Life & Times of Tim Hetherington.” Making the documentary was his way of working through Tim’s death, of coming to an understanding of what happened, and understanding Tim’s life.  

 I sometimes hear the film mentioned as “the life and death of Tim Hetherington.” While the tendency is to dwell on how his life was cut short,  it’s important for people to know Tim  lives in the hearts and work of many –in ways that run deep, artistic, joyous, and sometimes memories that evoke a smile. Waffle House will never be the same for me.

Sebastian talks about RISC

2 thoughts on “The Life and More Life of Tim Hetherington”

  1. I love it. He will inspire thousands to inspire thousands more. I cherished what he did for Bco and all guys at the KOP with 2/503. He brought us back to the consciousness of an apathetic public and paved the way to get me the service and support I needed when I got medevacced. Might have gove a very different way had he not brought us back to the lime light. I’m committed to working harder and getting more accomplished and making it better for all the people behind me and tim ownes some of that credit. With any luck his waves will still be rippling long after i’m gone. It’s all cyclical

    1. Eric, From what I can gather, everyone who came across him always felt a connection. And I think at a time when people are pushing others away by drawing lines, it’s important to remember his spirit.

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