22 May 2014

For the Love of David Tennant and Real-Life Heroes

On Monday I shared this photo across a few of my social media outlets. If you know anything about me, you know how much I love David Tennant. Not just because he's hot, but because he played one of my favorite heroes of all time, Doctor Who. When I saw this picture, I didn't look too closely at it. I just swooned, pretty much. Then a friend on Twitter burst my bubble when she said she was pretty sure it was photoshopped. I was super bummed! But when I looked more closely I realized she was right. My first instinct was that it was David Tennant's head shopped onto Tom Cruise's body from Top Gun. But I couldn't find a photo of Tom Cruise in the same stance and clothing. So I kept looking.

I'm not sure what it was that made me keep digging through the depths of the Internet, but I spent just about half a day scouring images. I was determined to find the original. Finally, with the help of TinEye, I found the original image. I was not at all prepared for what I found out, either.

Let me introduce you to Major Michael Donnelly, United States Air Force veteran. Donnelly was a Connecticut native who served 15 years as a fighter pilot, including service during Operation Desert Storm. He retired in 1996 after being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. He then spent many years doing work as an advocate for his fellow Gulf War veterans and wrote a book, Falcon's Cry: A Desert Storm Memoir, published in 1998. Donnelly lost his battle with ALS in 2005. His home town of South Windsor, CT created a land reserve and award in his honor.

Considering I found very few places online where the original image of Donnelly shows up, I'm not sure how someone came to find it in order to shop David Tennant's head onto it. But they did. I wasn't sure how to feel about the fact that someone had taken the image of this man who selflessly served his country and made him unrecognizable to serve their own David Tennant obsession. But they did. And my love of David Tennant brought the photo to my attention this week, which in turn led to my discovery of the life of Major Michael Donnelly. And now you know a little bit of his story, too.

Life is funny sometimes.

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