Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Mark On Iraq

One of the interesting things to see when you're deployed around the world is how different units and their personnel “leave their mark”. Due to varying personalities, leadership, and situations, leaving your mark can vary from negative to positive depending on time, morale, and unit cohesion. The common thing you see here are murals painted on cement barricades designed to keep us safe. They can vary in size, texture, and location but, thanks to the local workers, all that can be adjusted.

Here in our corner of the Earth, I was given the freedom to paint what I wanted and as big as I wanted. Now, you have to realize that usually, units will set very restrictive parameters on the content of a mural such as unit patches, crests, and certain pictures. For example, I watched a unit artist paint a mural outside of a dining facility (the correct name for a chow hall). This mural had the unit patch, crest, and all of it was centered on a mountain of human skulls. Not an exceedingly bright idea on the artist’s part considering the location because you have all sorts of people entering and leaving the building to include people (male & female) from all four branches of the military, civilian contractors, and VIPs. I don’t think that the commanding officer of a task force bringing in foreign guests and visiting dignitaries found it too appealing to see a mountain of human skulls in front of the chow hall. Needless to say, that mural lasted one week.

I decided to design our mural so that everyone in our task force from the commander to the lowest ranking private would walk by, look at it, and fell a little more pride knowing that they are part of that particular task force. I added elements that would remind us and the world of why we were here in the first place so that we wouldn’t lose focus of “the big picture”. I also wanted to pay tribute to the fallen so that the families back home would not fell that their deaths were in vain or forgotten. I have attached the “in progress” photograph to this posting taken by a friend. Once it’s finished, I’ll post the complete work with the details. I hope you enjoy it.


Blogger Padre O'Brien said...

Great website, Rene! I'm looking forward to meeting you when you get back to Minnesota. We're praying for you (and your unit) on a regular basis. Thanks for serving!
Pastor Randy

3:07 AM  

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