My father came home after World War II with a portrait that had been painted of him while he convalesced from combat wounds in a European hospital.
Although he had loathed the war and refused to discuss his experiences, his portrait was the most important picture on our living room wall. My mother loved it for being a portrait of him and they both appreciated it for being the only genuine oil painting that our family owned.
We were fortunate that he came back alive. I can't imagine having grown up without him or the grief that families go through when a loved one is suddenly lost.
| But I do know,
since my younger son,
in the Air Force during Desert Storm, the anguish that parents go
through while their children are in harms way.
Because of all that I volunteered to paint portraits of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Faces of the Fallen exhibit at the Arlington National Cemetery, for once the exhibit was over the families of the soldiers would be presented with the portraits. I could give something to those families and I wished to create paintings of lasting personal value for them.
The opportunity to participate in this project was a great honor.
Jesse J. Martinez
20 years old
Killed in Iraq
Navy Seal Petty Officer
Thomas E. Retzer
San Diego, California
30 years old
Killed in Afghanistan
Faces Of The Fallen exhibit
Arlington National Cemetery