Archive for May 15th, 2009

CurraheeThis is a small painting from a few years back that is titled Currahee, a word I first heard in the WW II series, Band of Brothers .  It is a Cherokee word that means “stand alone” and it immediately struck me as a real word with some sort of innate power.  It was the battle cry for the 101st Airborne Division, the group of troops portrayed so well in Band of Brothers.  It stands for a sense of self-dependence with which I can identify so felt a connection with the word and my paintings, which are often primarily about the idea of standing alone.

The reason I mention this is that I recently saw a segment on CBS news about a soldier severely injured in Iraq, losing both his legs and suffering brain injuries which left him totally unresponsive. Back here in the States in the hospital, the soldier was visited by General David Petraeus who talked with the young man and after a bit, getting no response, turned to leave.  He turned back and yelled out the word.  Currahee.

The soldier immediately tried to sit up, trying to utter the word.  

Amazing.  Since then his progress has been remarkable and he is walking with the aid of two prosthetic legs and is speaking.  He recently appeared with Petraeus at, I believe, the New Jersey Hall of Fame.   You can see the original story here.

I am always in awe of the power of certain words and icons, how we place such personal meaning to them that they become ingrained in us, triggering instant emotion at the mere mention.  That is real power.


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