Prisoner of War – Memorial Day Tribute

POW

Media: graphite pencils and multi-purpose paper.

Survivor — Out of the Darkness

Inspired by a man. A soldier.

A rescue pilot during the Vietnam War.

And a prisoner of war for seven long years.

Out of the darkness rise the voices.

Through the shadows appear the images.

Memories… too many memories.

All unforgotten.

Unnamed Soldier – Memorial Day Tribute

Memorial Day tribute. A sketch of mine, based on the famous photograph by Horst Faas. The original photograph was of an unnamed solder, member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion, at Phuc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam–dated June 18, 1965. My medium is graphite drawing pencils, on multi-purpose art paper. My next mission will be to invest in a phone with a better camera.

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The sketch…

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Ditto, but with a printed copy of the photograph for perspective.

Survivor – Chalk Art

This week, I had the opportunity to participate in a chalk art competition hosted by the college I currently attend–Tarrant County College Southeast campus. The design was inspired by my grandfather: his time in the military and the years following. If you haven’t, please take a moment to read this poem. The final lines are the ones that ended up being incorporated into the design. This is the first  art competition I’ve participated in, and I ended up placing 3rd. I’m grateful for all the feedback and encouragement I received from professors, and fellow students. And a big shout-out to my awesome sister Bethany, who helped me brainstorm the concept of the design… and convinced me I needed to participate. The sidewalk slab is about 4ft by 5ft, and the design took me around 3 hours to complete. Below are a few photos… enjoy!

View from the front...

View from the front…

And a view from the right...

And a view from the right…

And one from the left...

And one from the left…

 

 

Soldier on the Rhine

This poem is for my dear grandfather. On Easter Sunday, April 1st, 1945, a stray German bullet impacted the sight of the gun he and his buddy were manning. His buddy was killed instantly. Papa survived. Some might call it luck or chance, but my grandfather–with tears in his eyes–recollects how it was only by the grace of God. If he had been a fraction of an inch to the left… or to the right… the shrapnel that still remains in his face and hands would have taken his life. But he wasn’t… and it didn’t.

 

On the bank of the Rhine

With bullets flying

No hope in sight

Will I die tonight?

 

Hardly more than a boy

I’m just a young man

Trying my hardest

To do all that I can

 

A lump in your throat

You know that it’s time

As we man our gun

On the bank of the Rhine.

 

War – It’s an ugly thing

You can almost smell the fear

It’s gut wrenching

The bullets strike too near.

 

Stars above – bright night sky

My friend I knew you well

Why did you have to die?

Fear’s a hard thing to quell.

 

Fire within my hand

I can feel myself fall

Here in this foreign land

Can you hear my voice call?

 

Lying alone – the hard ground

Time is now standing still

Can’t move – can’t make a sound

Darkness covers and fills.

 

Pain and agony are all that I see

Wounded men on either side

This one is struggling

To even breathe.

 

Cold…

The faces come and go.

Cold…

A nurse brings a blanket.

Why should she have to face this?

This insanity?

 

But merciful God…

You spared my life.

 

They showed me the sight

The frozen path of the bullet

Traced in the light.

 

By all accounts

I should be dead

Yet my life was spared

By the width of a thread.

 

Providence…

I am alive:

By the grace of God

I have survived.

 

Related: Survivor – Chalk Art.  A chalk art tribute to Papa Hiller.