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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To Honor Restrepo

   Many years ago I had enlisted in the US Army (1985) to eventually become a combat artist. Well, that never came to pass and I do thank God at times that I did not. But, sometimes it does nip at me that I didn't.
   So I have chipped away at the edges producing artwork for persons who have been in service using snap shots and such. I can live vicariously through those photos because I can understand what is happening in those images because of the time I DID spend in uniform. Granted, I served during peace time so nothing much happened, but I can empathize with them.
   Not long ago I ran across a Documentary about a unit stationed in Afganistan. It was titled "Restrepo". It is the name of a FOB(Forward Operating Base) in the mountains. The Base was named for the first soldier that died there where the base was later built. As I watched I was able to identify with them and their sometimes boring and other times frantic life the year they spent there.

   Watching them do their job and slowly build up their mountain top home reminded me of all the times I went to the field and we all did what we could to make our tiny corner of the world we lived in as personal as possible. Every serviceman I have ever met has done the same. We were placed in some pretty inhospitable places and we took to the job at hand with gusto, because it meant we stood a chance of getting out of those hell holes if we did. However, at the same time, going through those hard times meant we needed, even in that hell hole, some place to try to be normal - to unwind. 

   It did not always work, but we tried just the same. As I watched this movie I laughed at their stupid and sometimes extremely vulgar jokes. The tension was there and it took extremes sometimes break from the tension of their jobs. When they went on patrols I grew anxious as they watched every movement for miles around trying to anticipate all the enemies moves. And when a fire fight broke out my heart raced with theirs as the boring, constant training kicked in and they fought back with TOTAL commitment to ending the fight as quickly as it started. 

   As I watched all this I realized I needed to recreate several of the scenes to honor the Veterans that have been fighting this war on terror now going on 18 years with no end in sight yet. Many of these men and woman have been injured and not not just physically. We will have the emotional scars of this fight to deal with for many years to come. These are just 3 of the several images I will be creating from this movie.

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