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Family, Friends To Honor NPR Photographer David Gilkey

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This week, our colleague Tom Bowman has been bringing us stories from his recent trip to Afghanistan. It was on this trip that a Taliban ambush killed two of our colleagues, photographer David Gilkey and interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna. Today, many of us who knew David Gilkey well - family and friends - are in his hometown of Portland, Ore., to honor him. Recently, I spoke to Tom Bowman about David's passion for the story in Afghanistan.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Every year, at the beginning of the year, Dave would always ask me when are we going back and where do we go this time? So he was really committed to this story. And not only the story itself, but he really cared about the Marines and the soldiers over there. He would send photos home to their families. And at the memorial service we had for David, I was talking to a Marine colonel, and he said he got all these messages from parents who said I hadn't seen my son in two months and then this photo arrives that I got from David.

GREENE: Wow.

BOWMAN: And it wasn't just the Americans. It was the Afghans, too. We had a longtime driver over there named Ata (ph) and he was inconsolable when he heard about David. And a friend of ours over there, Najib Sharifi, longtime friend of ours and also a fixer and translator, he said an old man came up to him, a friend of his, and this guy was a very devout Muslim, long white beard. And he said, I'm sorry your friend was martyred. And he said it was unusual because usually you'd say, for a Westerner, I'm sorry he was killed.

GREENE: Yeah.

BOWMAN: He said, I'm sorry he was martyred.

GREENE: And what did you take from that?

BOWMAN: That David was - had a special place with Afghans as well, that he really connected with them and they knew that his work was very important as well. And it hit Najib too. He said it was really unusual for a devout Afghan Muslim to say it about a nonbeliever and about a Westerner.

GREENE: That was NPR's Tom Bowman remembering our colleague, photographer David Gilkey. He was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan last month. His family is holding a memorial today here in Portland, Ore. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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