Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Tribute for my Warriors and a New Start on a Dog Handler Painting

Memorial Day Weekend.  What does it mean to you?  As a civilian it was a weekend off and a day of parades (couldn't wait to see the bagpipers) and traveling around with my parents to lay flowers on grave sites.  But in 2008 my son said yes to the Delayed Entry Program for the Marines and life changed with Memorial Day bringing on a new meaning.  I had one question to Forest as he told me his life plan.  It had not been a total surprise as Forest had been looking at Engineering schools and the Marines since he turned 13 years old.  My question, "Why do you want to become a Marine?"  Immediate answer, "Because I want to make a difference in this world and make it a better place and when I am done, I want to go to school, debt free."  My response, "Good answer."  We have to stand behind our children's dreams.  I have seen parents refuse and stand in the way of their dreams.  I have seen the results.  Opting to be proud of their decision and help guide them is the best a parent does in letting go.  Forest signed, earned the title of a "United States Marine and I joined with the parents in earning the title "Marine Momma".

Made into a painting called "Grief" commemorating the Burial  Service of  Lcpl Gabe Rainy
Lcpl Gabe Rainy in the wheat fields of Afghanistan
Corporal Forest Blair, USMC has never ceased to amaze me.  I am truly a blessed Marine Momma, not only to my son but to the men and women I have met through these years who have moved me and inspired me by their valor and commitment to each other and the Citizens of the United States.  Now I pay attention to the faces of those who gave so much as they remember those battles that shaped them.  Their eyes tell me stories without a word whether they are standing in a crowd or a color bearer in full dress uniform.  All I can do is to take in this weekend and find the things I can do to honor them and the families that stand behind them.  The parades, I cheer every Veteran that marches by.  I go to the ceremonies that lay garlands by memorials.  I contacted my Gold Star parents and remembered their sons.  I have watched on television Gary Sinise give honor and respect to all Veterans.  Last night I stood in the crowd as the Watchfire lights and respectfully retires flags that myself and so many wrote on in remembrance of those who did not make it home.  We will never forget.
Lcpl Gabe Rainy, USMC KIA June 2010

Cpl Kyle, USMC KIA, Afghanistan 2011
My Gold Star Parents hold a special significance in my short Military life.  Penny Riley remains close in my heart and I contact her often.  Through her a breast cancer survivor after Gabe was KIA, I have learned adversities of life make you stronger.  She may not feel it but her strength has truly been born of fire for as much as she has lost her son, she has walked with dignity and grace as she has met every challenge.  My more local Gold Star parents are Rick and Lorie Schneider who lost their son Cpl Kyle Schneider, USMC KIA in July of 2011.  He will be one of my paintings coming up, my only portrait in the series that will honor his life.  His parents determined to never forget his stating, "Momma, Its my turn to make a difference".  "Its My Turn" became a by line to the Corporal Kyle Foundation, helping  people in tha many ways that Kyle would have helped.

 It has been an emotional journey for them and the Syracuse Marine Parents group that has watched Rick and Lorie walk through their journey of turning grief into their son's by line, "Its My Turn".  In the last few days the Baldwinsville Post Office has gained a new Name.  It is now called by its new name The Cpl Kyle Schneider Post Office of Baldwinsville NY.  At the dedication there were several Political representatives and Postal employees, along with the Baker High School's chorus.  The director of that Chorus has inspired many a high school student to compose their own music and they premiered "Its My Turn" in Kyles honor, (my son Forest was in his choir during his high school years).

There will be more to come about my next painting.  For now, I am off to my parents for some burgers and one more parade!

So, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you my son, my Veteran's, my Military Family.  You are remembered this Memorial Weekend in every way, I give you honor.

Sharon A. Blair, Proud Marine Momma of Cpl Forest Blair, USMC and Artist


Saturday, May 11, 2013

"An Evening at the Gala"

Finally back on the blog after two weeks of moving and not being able to get on my computer, I am back.  Sorry this took so long.  The website is going to be updated and work the way it should in the next few weeks.  Hang in there for that please!

First off, here is the news about Hope for the Warriors Gala Affair at the Andrew Melon Auditorium April 17th.  What an awesome experience to be on Constitution Ave with so many heroes.  We were all there to celebrate and tell their stories.

My paintings were at the entry ways for all the Gala Affair's guests.  I was able to take so many through the paintings and tell the stories behind the paintings.  One of my first guests to take through my paintings was Gary Sinise and his lovely daughter.  Just in case you wondered I personally have met three actors in my life.  The first was Timmy with his co-actor Lassie (which is the reason I have moved- to have a collie that I would like to train for Clear Path for Veterans with PTSD).  Robert Dinero, while I did not meet face to face I did take care of his guest room where I was a head housekeeper at The Point. For Gary, I was most impressed at how humble and truly gracious he was.  And his daughter was so sweet.

Many others were there and I was so humbled to be counted among such a wonderful group who shared the thought to pay it forward and make a difference for those who sacrificed so much for our country.