The flag on the left in “War and Peace” is a black and white image of the IR Flag that every American soldier wears throughout combat. After enduring a one year deployment to Iraq, I saw the IR Flag as a symbol of history. This is emphasized through the use of black and white colors. As soldiers return home from combat, the right flag represents the cost of war upon their lives (PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The America they knew is no more. What once was white is now black. The rest of their lives is defined by the history and cost of war.</.p>
In the book Reflections of Generosity, I describe my initial return from war to peace as follows:
As I stepped off the plane at Fort Drum to greet my family, the emotions of seeing them again were comparable to the joys of becoming a father. I felt the way I did the first time I met my wife. There were shared smiles and many tears of relief and contentment, and the phrase it is finished repeated in my mind. The realization set in that these happy “mission complete” moments are pauses within the cycle of ongoing deployments. Although thinking already of leaving again spurs difficult, painful thoughts and emotions, I stand ready for what is to come. This is the kind of experience that feeds inspiration and increases hunger for creativity . . .
For the year I served in Iraq’s galleries of beauty and sacrifice, I discovered my own resurrection moment and spiritual shift. It became clear to me through the inspiration of these moments that the qualities and themes of each untitled work are priceless and need to be shared.
In the lasting memory of our heroes whose daily generosity gives us the hope and beauty we need for restoration and peace, I humbly offer the words of this essay as a sacrifice to their broken and, in the end, resurrected beauty. May the generosity of their lives live on through the charity of our own personal sacrifices.