Private Soldiers

exhibit shares firsthand experiences of WI National Guard

Ben Freund |

The ongoing dialog – or, more often, shouting match – about the war in Iraq has been one of the most controversial and politicized subjects in the nation for the best part of a decade. Even when discussing the war on the most personal level, the experiences and reactions of soldiers on the front lines, the armchair generals and diplomats will find fodder for their cause. A long distance from the abstract news coverage and a step away from the hyper-subjective personal stories of veterans, “Private Soldiers” documents the yearlong deployment of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 2-127th Infantry Battalion. The exhibit, based on the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book of the same name, is the product of Capt. Benjamin Buchholz’s prose and Lt. Nathan Olson and Staff Sgt. Joseph Streeter’s camera work. “The big theme for me is trying to document but not overtly describe how war has changed all these young soldiers, most of them for the better, some for the worse,” says Buchholz. The exhibit avoids pathos, preferring the everyday stresses and rare moments of release that composed the daily lives of our local veterans. Pro-, anti-, or apathetic, few viewers could be unmoved by the image of an Iraqi child in a cast-off Green Bay Packers sweatshirt waving to passing Wisconsin soldiers on patrol.

Private Soldiers: A Year in Iraq with a Wisconsin National Guard Unit • Sept. 12-Jan. 8 • Chippewa Valley Museum, Carson Park • Wednesdays-Fridays and Sundays 1-5pm, Tuesdays 1-8pm, Saturdays 10am-5pm • adults $4, kids 4-17 $2, active military and National Guard members free • 834-7871

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