Recently, during my packing to move to a new apartment I have run across some material I had written several years ago that led to other projects. The Image above is one example of a thought (blog) that led to another. I re-post this one to give a look at my thought process.
Being a cold war soldier, during a relatively peaceful time meant, to some extent, a very boring career. When I first joined up I thought the ARMY was going to be exiting. But, settling into permanent duty it dawned on me that is was just a job. Granted, a potentially fatal job, but still, a job. For four months at the 24th Infantry as a supply clerk, that is all it was. Into my 5th month of drudgery most of the base suddenly went on alert. It was 2nd battalions turn for training, my battalion. The battalion commander pitted two of our company's against the other two. That was actually fun, however a few days after leaving the field an aviation units was out practicing night excercises. At some point an Apache collided with a Chinook, both falling in the woods at the back of the base.
That night my company was called out to cordon off the area. In the darkness I couldn't make out much accept for the fires that were already being put out. For the entire night we watched as an engineer unit cleared a path, setup generators and floodlights allowing the medics to do their somber task. Investigators from CID came in to pick through the site till the civilian ones from the FAA showed up. As I think back to that night I vividly remember the number of dead was around 20. The gunship had clipped the chinook full of soldiers. No one survived.
As dawn broke we moved our perimeter out to the main road to keep the media away as the dead were being brought out. It was somber work that rocked me to the core. Strangely, though it also gave a better understanding of my job. Yes, I was a supply clerk, but I was also a soldier in the U.S. Army. My job was lowly yet at the same time I was a part of an organization who's job was to protect my country. Some day could find me dead defending it. It gave me a sense of purpose even in being a clerk.
All these years later (2001) as I sit watching the news about the war on terrorism and all those deaths I am reminded of those ceremonies I attended for those lost in that crash. A shiver runs through me thinking about the horrible task ahead. Nothing moved me more then standing there saluting those boots, rifles and helmets I did back in 1987.
Those 20 and now 4 more. Recently, at the beginning of this war I worked at the Colorado Springs airport for the TSA. One night, near the end of my shift about 20 MP's arrived in several Humvee's and a truck. A couple of them hung around my station and we soon learned they were there to escort the first four soldiers form Ft Carson to die in Afghanistan. By the end of my shift the plane was still coming in for a landing. As I walked to the employee parking lot I could see them unloading the coffins. Knowing they would be passing I decided to stop and wait for them to pass by. It was pouring rain (figures) and I did not care. As the caravan pulled out to the road by the lot I snapped to attention and saluted till they had passed. It was 11:15pm. When I turned to walk to my van I noticed two others on the road doing the same. A policeman and an airport flight line worker.
That night I reflected on the fact that there would be too many more of these men and women honored in this manner for the foreseeable future. I thought I have to honor these warriors the only way I could. So I created the Soldiers Memorial illustration from the first soldiers at Ft. Carson to have a military funeral.
I have since taken the Soldiers Memorial and added the split serpent and the Phrase "All Gave Some Gave All." I have put this image on a T-shirt and now it will be on Display at the "Burning Man" Art Show called "Camp HellnBack" this July. A show of artwork created by veterans. We are still fighting Terror and I do not see it ending any time soon.