The naming of the project

February 15th 2022

Charles has pointed out that a piece of art like this gets named.  We are at that place. He said the naming of it is my search, it is part of my journey.  Once it is named, the name becomes part of the project.  The naming helps him with the feeling of the painting.  I can see that by naming the piece it helps him to embrace the project even further.  It allows him to know the directions to lean into his intuition more and times to not.

This is my first list of ideas

The humble hero

A humble hero’s story

What PTSD couldn’t rob him of

My humble father’s journey through hell

Honor with no glory

Honor not forgotten

Tribute delayed is not honor forgotten

Salute to the humble heroes robbed of glory

Salute to the humble heroes of the Vietnam War

Freedom’s many layers

To painful in life to honor

The price of freedom

When the pain is too great to receive the hero’s tribute

I never signed up to be a hero

Nobody asked me if I wanted to do this.  I just did my best

I did what I was asked and was then asked to be silent

The silence of freedom

A hero’s silent price for freedom


Thank you Be free, there is no more need for your silence

Soar High


A life well lived

I never asked to be an eagle Where eagles soar

February 19th 2022

I have sat on the idea for a couple more days and a good friend was over and I talked with her some more about and in telling her the story I was able to better articulate what I am looking for in the title.

I will share what I told her.

“I want the title to convey honor and appreciation for the whole life lived by an American hero.  As we work on this project I have been putting myself in my father’s shoes.  My father was always a big-picture kind of person.  He loved growing up on a farm in southern Minnesota, but he had plans and dreams of leaving there.  His older brothers had left the small town of Bird Island, he had plans to do the same.  But how do you plan very far ahead when you’re a man, turning 18 in the middle of a draft? Never had he mentioned how going off to fight a war was one of his ideal plans. Never. Because it wasn’t. His draft number determined his whole fate.  One little set of numbers. He didn’t have a choice.  The only choices left was to enlist and be proactive and have some options in rank and position or to wait until he had to go and hope that the dam thing was over by then and get left with the shit jobs.  He saw the writing on the wall, he proposed to his girlfriend and enlisted in a war he didn’t agree with to fight people he had never heard of, until a few years before, all for his country.  At that point there were very few options for his 18-year-old.  He truly believed he would not return from Vietnam, he had all of his affairs in order.  He got married after basic training, so someone would get his last paycheck.  He had said his goodbyes to his large extended family.  He was a realist, and it didn’t take a person with a genius IQ (which he had) to figure out how things would probably turn out. He goes off and fights in this war, he didn’t have any option to fight in.  He has to do things to stay alive that will never leave his mind or his soul, him for the rest of his life.  He is forced to kill people to live and to save his men.  He will question God and then lose his faith all together in that jungle.  When he has finally given enough blood, sweat and time he is allowed to sneak back home.  I use the word sneak because that is what it was.  Because of the abuse happening to returning soldiers by then, others told him what to do to avoid being beat up upon returning.  He did what they said, ditched the uniform on the flight, lost his bag and just tried to blend in.  No hero welcome home with flags and a parade.  Well, as a condition of his return home, he had to march in some parades to show that the services were bringing men home safe and that it was still a good thing to enlist.  He got beat up by protesters and anti-war people after most of those events. Hell no.  While he was gone, the country and people that he was off fighting for abandoned him.  Now I can’t imagine being that 21-year-old man trying to calculate his future with that much of my power having been stripped from me and being gaslighted by the media, president, and protesters.  That was the space and place that I was born into.  This is the man I know as my father.  Not that beautiful soul that was born into this life, the soul that remained after his free will was removed.

He lived through under 24 months of war and those 24 months defined every day of his life from that moment on and no one ever said Thank you for serving your country.  And even after all of that, he was the man dedicated to making sure the flag went up every day at his office.  He was the man who started the Vietnam vets chapter in his part of the state, he was the man selling poppies and he was the man giving a homeless guy, he could see was a vet some money for booze.  He was the man who in his forties, marched in parades, in his uniform carrying the flag. He was the man who went to the airport to welcome home troops to make sure someone was always there for the returning soldiers.  He was the one that wanted to make sure no other person was treated the way he was treated when he returned home. He had more empathy in his pinkie than most people have in their whole bodies. That is what I am trying to find the title for.

That intersection of where he had no other option, did was he had to do to survive, returned and was hated for it and then made a life on top of that for fifty years.  What is the title for that?  This is my tribute to the person forgotten, who still rises from the ashes and never wants anyone to know about it, for fear it might cost them their life.  What is the title you put on that?”

People talk about PTSD often in an abstract manner.  I talk about PTSD from a place of having been handed it and having lived alongside it my whole life.  My father may have been the one that fought in the war, but because of the PTSD, we were all soldiers in his personal, private war to survive each day.

This is the story of that man.  A version of a superhero that hides in plain sight and fights demons bigger than we can imagine.  This is a tribute to that person, they might think that no one can see them, that no one noticed what they did, or that they blend in so well they are invisible.  I can see you, I know that you are there.  You are not invisible.  You are what gives me faith in mankind, you are the backbone of this country, and you are wives and husbands, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers.  You are my community.  This is my tribute to that life lived.

Title thoughts now:

A daughters tribute to the father not returned

A daughters tribute to the man left behind

A daughters tribute to honor her father’s fight to live in peace

A daughters tribute to honor her father’s fight to live a moment in peace

Building on Sand


Wars integration

Wars evolution

Freedom lost, silence to survive and redemption

Lost freewill, reconstruction, integration and death

A heroes lost freedom, silence to survive and

Homeward Bound

The journey to freedom

A man’s journey to find peace

The true story of our journey from war to peace The legacy that war cannot take

April 22nd 2022

The story of his soul

The journey of his soul

The war that is Inside

Souls journey home from war

The intertwining of was and the soul

The souls fight to be free from the war

The best pieces of what remained

Honor and Duty until the end

Man’s Search for Meaning

Henry’s search for peace

** Honoring the pieces that remained