Posts Tagged ‘Military’
War; It’s been around since an estimated 2700 BCE when the first recorded war between the Sumer and the Elam was placed into history. From the Trojan War, to the Crusades; World War 1 and 2, to Operation Desert Storm in the 90’s, and even the current war In Afghanistan. Young men and women have always been in the front lines serving in our armed forces, subjugating themselves to protect their cause. But this isn’t a history lesson or a justification on why they do what they do; this is a story on what keeps them at ease during times like this, and how the power of art can tell a thousand words.
I recently came back from a military graduation a couple of weeks ago , and during the time spend with the graduate I noticed several thing about not just him but many of the men and women that are serving our country. Whether they are in basic training, deployment training, currently overseas in combat or returning home, they all had something in common.
Art was the leading thing that was spoken out of the soldiers, during their recoup time from vigorous training or the small alone time they had at night. Most of the soldiers would tell me that the power of art would help them, make them smile; make them cry tears of joy. Bring them closer to love ones who are in other states or countries and who aren’t near them.
These are their stories…
I spoke with a private stationed here; he tells me that he graduated from a specialized art school in Chicago not too long ago. He joined the armed forces to study mechanical engineering, just a step forward from what he was studying in Chicago. But in between his wake up calls at 3 in the morning and the training he endures during the day, the time he gets’s right before bed is what he loves the most.
He said: “I’m an artist at heart; no matter what you call me, soldier, Pvt., son, brother, or boyfriend. I’ve always been an artist”. At night I sit in my bunk bed, drawing, creating visuals to keep me at bay. I draw cartoons of members of my battalion, pictures of what I did during a long day in the field. It fills my heart with this passion, that one day I can take with me to whatever I do in life, whether it is mechanical engineering, or creating animation for companies like ‘Pixar’ or ‘Lucas Arts’.
As I listen to him I realized that his passion brought him to here, not because he wanted to be in the ‘Army’ but because he needed something to fall back on. With the way the economy is, it was a choice that secured him with something steady. He can learn abilities that give him a push to be noticed in the work force when he returns. It brought a tear to my eye; someone so passionate, someone with so much talent is left with a decision that could potentially put him at harms way. But he did it because he loves what he does, what he is; an artist.
During the graduation dinner, I spoke with a sergeant, he is currently preparing himself to be deployed for a second tour, unlike the last person I spoke with he explains that he choose to be in the ‘Army’, but never thought that they would be in a war spanning 7 years and going. One of the things he tells me is how hard it is to leave his family. Like most soldiers leaving their loved ones IS the most difficult thing about their jobs. Serving a deployment tour can be as long as a year or more depending on how long the job last.
But while soldiers like the sergeant, serve their tour, one key thing that help them get through their deployment, is the care packages their families send them. Yes the snacks and letters bring them closer to home, but for sergeant Johnson nothing make him happier then receiving the pictures that his children send him. His daughter’s age, 10 and 19, bring him the most joy when they draw pictures to show how and what they’re doing back in the states.
The sergeant’s eldest is in college studying illustration. Her dream is to make it big in the comic industry, and she sends her father copies of her portfolio to show her progress and achievements. “The hardest thing for me” explains the sergeant is the fact that I might miss my daughters graduations, seeing her talents develop over the years has made me so proud.
In these times we are in, soldiers keep fighting for the freedom that we hold dear; people tend to over look the smaller things in life, the things that matter. Who would have thought that something like art can help the men and women of our armed forces, whether they are just out of school, trying to make names of themselves, or proud parents trying to get home to their families. Art drives them one way or another.
Article by Jasper Gonzales