Monday, May 28, 2012

A Month to Remember

May is an exciting month for military families.  It is time to honor them.  We tell America, we are here and for the citizens of this nation; you live in a freedom paid for at great cost.  Our sons and daughters willingly stand in harms way for you.  So just what have I been doing with my brush and those paintings?

On May 12th I started with "Armed Forces Day" at the Syracuse Chiefs Game (they were traveling on the actual May 19th celebration).  Nine of the paintings in my series traveled with me to their game (we won - of course!)  This was another opportunity to show these paintings and let people know their stories.
There was a special Honor and Remember Flag at the Opening
Ceremonies given to Rick and Lorie Schneider, our Gold Star Parent's
who lost their son Cpl Kyle Schneider, USMC last year while serving in
  Our Gold Star parents are working through this difficult year by starting a scholarship fund in his memory.  
My brush has not been idle.  I have been working at the North Syracuse VFW here in New York on an antique shuffle board.  The Veterans asked if I would paint their 5 of the Military Insignia's on the surface of the table.  Mayor Mark Atkinson had seen my military paintings that I had presented back in January to the North Syracuse Art Guild at the North Syracuse VFW.  He asked what I would charge and I told him this one is on me.  And of course, I learn through my experiences with unique challenges.  When I am at home, I can get lost in my work at my easel.  All those long hours spent in
one setting at home is vastly different when it comes to the open and available hours at the VFW (can't take that 30 foot shuffle board home with me to work on)  Sooooo, it took a long time to get that painted.  But today, on the eve of their Memorial Day Open House, I finished it!
Many many hours work.
 Though there are many that take these national holidays as another way to party, our Veterans at the VFW Post 7290 have raised their glasses in memory to all who have gone on before them.  We honor their service.

And just to go out and celebrate finishing, I treated myself to one of my favorite Memorial Day Events - The Vietnam Veteran's Watchfire in Central New York.  On this eve of Memorial Day, we take time to retire our flags that are torn and tattered.  The formal Watchfire Service honors all those that have given their lives in service to our country and to remember our military that are serving today around the world.

It was a hot one too.  As the fire consumed the flags and sent us back from the heat, Rick and Lorie launched a sky lantern (we all signed messages to Kyle) as a way to say, "Love you to the moon and back.  Goodnight Kyle".

Tomorrow is the Parade in North Syracuse and the VFW's Open House.

After that we go to cemeteries with my parents to our families own remembrance day.  We hear the stories of our eccentric Great Uncle Babe (he was independently wealthy from an earthworm farm) who carpeted his gardens to keep the weeds down and my Great, Great Grandpa who sold Snake Oil when he arrived here in the United States of America.

Now that I have worked through all this stuff stay tuned, in a couple of days I will have more news on the blog for my next two paintings and the next 2nd Marine Division's Magazine "Follow Me" covers.