Daily Aztec Editor Presents Photo and Award to Former Alumni President
Honored and touched. That’s how former Alumni Association President Ed Blessing (’60) says he felt as the recipient of a photograph taken by Daily Aztec editor Antonio Zaragoza and the certificate Zaragoza presented him after the photo won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).
(l-r) Daily Aztec Editor Antonio Zaragoza presents his SPJ award and a laminated copy of the newspaper front page featuring his photograph to Ed Blessing ('60).
“It's an outstanding picture and it means a great deal to me,” Blessing said during a campus visit last month during which Zaragoza presented him with the SPJ certificate along with a laminated copy of the front page of the September 8, 2011 Daily Aztec featuring the photo. Titled “SDSU Salutes War Veterans,” the photo was part of the newspaper’s remembrance of the September 11 attacks a decade later.
The photo depicts members of an honor guard with flags standing near the SDSU War Memorial. Zaragoza had snapped it October 15, 2010 while working as a Daily Aztec photographer covering the annual homecoming War Memorial Ceremony.
“I remember these guys were standing next to the Memorial holding their Navy flag and Marine flag and they were all from the different (military) departments just kind of talking,” recalls Zaragoza, 39, who is a student veteran. “I thought of Winston Churchill's quote, ‘…You may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together - what do you get? The sum of their fears.’
“That quote kind of fit and I took the photograph and it just worked out,” the editor explained.
FRAMED AND AUTOGRAPHED
A copy of the photograph was presented by university administrators to Blessing for his support of the War Memorial and SDSU’s Troops to College Program. Zaragoza had it signed by members of SDSU’s Student Veterans Organization and personally framed it.
Antonio Zaragoza's award-winning Photo.
This past March, the photograph won a third-place certificate in the category of General News Photography at the SPJ Region 11 Mark of Excellence Awards. Zaragoza met Blessing, who lives in Texas, when both were at a speaking engagement in San Diego.
"He thanked me for the photograph and congratulated me on my award," said Zaragoza. “I thought it would be great to give him the certificate to go with the photo. It's great to know that Aztecs like Ed are out there doing amazing things and I just wanted him to have it."
"I don't know how to thank Tony enough for not only the picture, but the fact that he would take the time to have it framed and autographed,” said Blessing, “and then he wants me to have the original of the award and it's an outstanding award."
The former alumni president said he intends to put the framed photo and certificate in his Texas office.
“I wanted a copy (of the certificate) and Tony and I are arm wrestling because he wants to give me the original,” Blessing joked. “So I told him I'm going to take it, but I'm going to put a note in the back and if I ever get hit by a truck, it gets returned to him so now he's got to keep in touch with me and to always let me know where he is."