A Photographer Recreated Vietnam War Zippo Engravings On Mobile Phones

A powerful lesson for the present from the past.

1. Photographer Henry Hargreaves, who created the series, says: “During the Vietnam nearly all US soldiers carried a Zippo lighter.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

2. “As the soldiers were initially forbidden from modifying the exterior of their uniform they would engrave their lighters to express their feelings and sentiments.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

3. “Looking at the original lighters it seemed nothing had really changed from what I was hearing was the current feelings of soldiers fighting in the modern day wars.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

4. “I decided to recreate these Vietnam Zippos with the same sayings, (subbing Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan), but updating the Zippos to phones.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

5. “I spoke with my buddy who served in the Laghman Province in Afghanistan. He told me it was as if they were in the worst place on earth.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

6. “He said they ‘had accepted their fate as being damned to an eternity in hell like it was a joke.’”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

7. “Things are so bad the final defense you have is your sense of humor.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

8. “I imagined the mobile phone would now be the soldiers’ closest personal possession.” (Soldiers can use unlocked GSM cell phones).

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

9. “It shows the progression of time through technology, but in terms of morality nothing has changed.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

10. “History repeats itself because we don’t learn lessons from the past.”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

11. “My friend requested I do one final phone with what had become the new slogan of the army: ‘hearts and minds.’ The reality couldn’t be further from this, he told me…”

Henry Hargreaves / Via Nicole Heffron

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