[guest post by Dana]
Yesterday I posted the president’s statement commemorating the 10th annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. I waited until this morning to see if the White House was going to perhaps later in the evening release a statement commemorating Armed Forces Day. As of this morning, I am unable to find anything on the White House Statements and Release page. Perhaps they forgot. I am not going to waste my time on this oversight, because we already know what we know about their priorities, and I would rather give those who deserve the attention their due.
With that being said, for the record, I will note that I did find a brief mention of it over at the U.S. Department Defense page, with the neat graphic above.
President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.
The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.
And that’s it.
As the grand-daughter of a Merchant Marine, the daughter of a Marine who served in Korea, the sister of a Navy veteran, and the mother of a recently enlisted Marine, I believe military service is simply the highest calling there is.
There are so many heroes that can be showcased in a simple post recognizing our military men and women – those who have been returned home to their loved ones after making the ultimate sacrifice; those who have returned home with loss of limb, permanently scarred on the outside as well as on the inside; those who served their time in relative safety here at home, putting their heads down and doing their jobs. All serving their country, no matter the cost.
This lovely young woman is Sarah Rothschild, age 27. She is a former Marine who spent one year stationed in Iraq and seven months in Afghanistan. She was a part of the Female Engagement team, a group that would patrol the villages of Afghanistan’s south Helmand province and connect with the Afghan women.
Sarah attended Oklahoma State University for several years studying art. In the middle of that time, she spent five years in the Marine Corps. Recently, Sarah was awarded the prestigious 2014 Colonel John W. Thomason, Jr. Award for her moving charcoal work entitled “What happens there doesn’t stay there.”
Sarah gives the back story to her emotional work,
I had only been out of the Marine Corps and in Oklahoma four months and just struggling. I always struggle with all of it.
I made many good friends out there, and also lost many good friends and great Marines. All of which incorporates and greatly led to the emotions which were transformed into this drawing.
Sarah explains her tears in the rendering,
I was at home one day sitting on the step of the deck outside, and I was thinking about stuff and crying. I went outside to see the makeup, and I don’t know, it’s kind of like when all of it came together.
This piece in particular ended up being pretty therapeutic.
After I drew it, it just sort of sat in the closet forever, and I didn’t take it out. I look at it, it just makes me sad. But I had known while working on it that I felt like it belonged in the National Museum of the Marine Corps. That needed to be its home.
About it being helpful to other veterans, Sarah is thankful and recognizes its healing power,
It’s a good thing, it’s a very good thing, because its very hard to heal from these things. You don’t forget them. People try to put it in a box, but it never stays in its box.
Other veterans, upon seeing the artwork, have commented,
‘That’s it, that’s the conflict. We’re out, but we’re not out. We’re holding on.’ Just trying to move on — but the struggle of moving on.
Sarah’s winning art is now housed at the museum where she hoped it would be. Both Sarah Rothschild and her moving art have come home. What an amazing gift it is to give voice and be salve to the wound of other struggling young men and women still trying to find their own way back home.
Sarah Rothschild’s art page can be found here.