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Posts Tagged ‘D-Day’

GC Myers-Peerless sm

“Peerless” – Included in the “Traveler ” Show

I am back in the studio this morning  after returning from Friday night’s opening of Traveler at the Principle Gallery.  There is  a sense of relief in the aftermath, a deep exhalation at having mostly completed my obligations for the show.  But there is often a letdown as well,  a combination of having passed the endpoint  you’ve been working towards for months and  natural self-doubts about things you might have done differently in this show.  Fortunately, this show left me with only the mildest of letdowns.  I am already focused on my next projects and as far as doubts, while there may be just a few minor ones, I am sure that I have done all that was in my power for this show and the work in it.

We had a lovely few days in Alexandria, blessed with the best weather we’ve seen in all the years that we have been visiting in early June.  In the past, we have often endured 100° temperatures, torrential rains and excruciating humidity on this weekend.  But this year it was as perfect as the weather could possibly offer with temps in the high 70’s, blue cloudless skies and low humidity .   I am available for other  regional  weather reports, as well!  In short, perfect conditions to wander around the area a bit before the show.

We attended the ceremony  at the World War II Memorial honoring the living veterans on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.  It was a beautiful setting there on the Mall, often moving,  and I felt very honored to be able to spend a short time in the near presence of those vets who survived that day of days.  We also were able to see the Andrew Wyeth show at the National Gallery that I wrote of earlier in the week.  It was wonderful to see so much of his work together, to be able to see the constancy and consistency of his personal vision as well as his ability to capture deep emotion within his scenes.

All in all, it was a great stay.  But the highlight was being to see many of the folks that I have met over the years who opted to spend some time at the gallery instead of out in that perfect weather.  I know that if I were in their shoes, it would have taken a lot to get  me there.  But for the many who did turn out and to Michele and her great staff– Clint, Jessica, Pamela and Chris along with guest bartender, Fernando Ascencio– I  extend a simple and grateful Thank You.  I wouldn’t be here right now writing this if not for you all.  And that I will always remember.

Okay, it is Sunday morning and we need to music.  I was thinking something calming while I decompress.  Here’s a classic Vince Guaraldi composition, Cast Your Fate to the Wind.  It has some of those same elements that you might recognize from his iconic work with the Peanuts gang.

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GC Myers- UnforgettableTonight is finally the  opening for this year’s exhibit of my work at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  Titled “Traveler”, this show marks fifteen years that I have been fortunate to have been asked to exhibit a solo show at the Principle Gallery, a fact that I wear as a badge of honor.  It’s something that I would never had expected when I began doing this and it pleases me that I have been able to maintain a level of consistent growth through this time.  It makes me want to continually surpass each past show and this year is no different.  I feel that  group of work is as good, if not better in its own way, as any group I have put in display there in the past.

So if you’re in the Alexandria/ DC area tonight, please stop in at the Principle Gallery.  I would love to see you there.  The piece that is shown here, Unforgettable, is from the show.  I am showing this painting because in a way it relates to a much more important aspect of this day – it is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

Many people, myself included, are in awe of the tremendous sacrifice and courage of those men on that day and rightfully so.  I can’t sit here and even believe for a second that I could do what they did on those beaches that June day in France in 1944.  But I can honor the memory of those who didn’t make it off those beaches and honor the lives of those who did.  So many who survived are now giving way to death in old age– as it should be–so it remains to us, the living, to maintain the memory of that day and the blood they gave to the land.  And hope and pray that such a day should never again come in our lives.

I see this in this painting.  Let their memories be unforgettable.

On this day, I think it is fitting that Taps be the music for this day.  Here is a version from Arlington National Cemetery ( just a few miles down the road from Alexandria) performed by United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” bugler,  SSG Drew Fremder  in the starkness of winter.  It is a song that never fails to bring a tear to my eyes.

Hope to see you tonight at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.

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Taxis to hell- and back- into the Jaws of Death  Robt. F Sargent, USCG Photo 1944I think if you need an image to answer the question of why we take this day to honor  those who have served in the military, this might fit the bill.  It is titled “Taxis to hell- and back- into the Jaws of Death” and was captured during the D-Day invasion of 1944 by Robert F. Sargent, a Coast Guard photographer.  I can’t even begin to imagine putting myself into the boots or minds of those soldiers as they came off those landing barges, can’t fathom to any degree the basal fear  that must have been surging through each of them.  My stomach is in a knot just looking at this.

This is a trial of terror that most of us will never have to face, thankfully.  We should be more than grateful for those who been willing to put themselves in the path of great danger , for those that sacrifice their own opportunity for a long and comfortable life so that their comrades and those at home might have one.  They deserve a day, our gratitude and much more.

I am always conflicted on this day.  It’s too easy to be caught up in the romance  of war and combat from a distance, as though it were a mere video game that you can simply walk away from.  It’s much to easy to beat the drums of war from afar. We must honor the sacrifices of these soldiers by understanding the harsh reality of war and its aftermath,  resolving to try to avoid putting future generations of young men and women in harm’s way.  Who among us would want our children or any other child to have to face the scene in this photo?

Take a moment today and put aside the trappings of the holiday that have evolved from this day and remember why it is a holiday.  Be thankful for those who have sacrificed and pray that we can avoid future wars.

 

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