The other day I was driving home from work, listening to some of my favorite music. Normally when I drive (I have a 40 minute commute) I listen to talk radio from Chicago. For some reason I felt more like music that day… I’m not sure why. Anyway, I found myself running through several images in my mind - all related with memorializing those who serve our country. I know, of course, that ‘our country’ is subjective here on the Internet, but for me it’s the United States. That’s not to say that I don’t feel those from other countries are deserving, however, for me, the US is my home so it naturally comes to mind.
I also told myself to stop listening to talk radio so much. I had more image ideas on that drive home than I probably had for weeks prior.
So, I decided to work on the first image that I thought about, which was really the catalyst for the whole series of images that popped into my head. The image, as it is, isn’t exactly what I thought it would be, but I DO like it. It’s actually similar to an image suggested by my Mother… so she should receive credit for the inspiration here. Thanks Mom.
When I think about all the men and women who have given their lives… LIVES for this country (and others), it really humbles me to realize that everything we do we take for granted. The very fact that I can sit here and type in this blog is a testament to men and women like that. I often feel as though I’m not doing enough… sitting here and being a typical American Consumer, but I suppose that’s what it’s all about. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to create the Memorial USA image. It’s not much, but at least it’s something.
Now, I’m not going to say if I approve or disapprove of the war in Iraq, or if I approve or disapprove of our President. That’s not for this blog. However, I will say that I support the troops. I suppose most of us really do support our troops when it comes right down to it. I don’t have a little ribbon on my truck or fly the flag from my antenna, but do I really need to? I don’t think so. Just so long as I acknowledge what they do, ensure that I live my life to the best of my ability, and continue to take freedom for granted. The troops fight and die so the rest of us can take our freedoms for granted, so that freedom for us is such a given that we don’t even realize we have it. THAT is patriotism, and that is why I felt the very least I could do is try to channel what talent I have into a memorial in the most fitting way I know how.
I must admit, when I first uploaded the image I was shaking a little bit. I’m not sure why… I was sitting comfortably in my chair with no reason to be nervous, but yet I was nervous. I was as if I felt the weight of all those souls who have given themselves for me and mine… judging me, judging the image I’d made. I suppose that sounds a bit melodramatic, but I was shaking nevertheless. All I can hope is that I didn’t disappoint them too much.
As for the image itself, I had originally intended to do it with a draping flag over the casket. I even had the flag all made up in Bryce after getting the terrain for the drape all set in photoshop. While I was playing around with the lighting, however, I stumbled upon the scene you see in the picture now… with the light shining down and the flag actually being projected. I liked it so much, I decided to keep it this way rather than use the draping flag I had made. I’m still not sure if I made the right choice, but I saved the draped flag just in case.
For the record, the country of origin for this picture could be very easily changed. I’m sure if someone from the UK, Australia, Canada, or really anywhere asked me to change the flag for their country I would consider re-rendering the image and posting an alternative. We’ll see if I get any takers.