by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 03 November 2015
"When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen." George Washington
Red is blood.
Blue blood only appears so outside looking in - skin, tissue, and vein filter and guard.
Purple, the secondary, primaries red and blue make (yellow, purple's primary complement and akin to cowardice, not in play; at all).
Is that the basis for the Purple Heart?
Logical. Fitting. But research short of.
Seven days forward Marines world-wide celebrate 240 years since the birth of our Corps - Annual. Tradition. Messages. Cake. Hymn. Camaraderie. Toasts. Semper Fi.
Battlefields brought to mind.
Hearts swell service pride.
Hearts heavy be for brother Marines known and unknown, too.
Sacrifice and loss.
For our Corps reputation was earned at great cost.
Curiously, the ribbon of blood and limb and life loss bears no visible red. The medal little. Neither blue.
Like all things military, especially Marine, decorations are tidy and neat and linear and symmetrical and shiny.
The Purple Heart no exception - clean and sterile and all that is opposite of what it represents. The heart-shaped medal back: 'For Military Merit'. Why not?: For Bleeding
Yesterday, before easel, something nonlinear and asymmetrical and messy and ugly - like battle and wound and death.
Abstract or surreal (a word combat veterans sometimes use to describe battle)?
Realism is it.
The art of war.
George Washington, never wounded in battle established the Purple Heart, led soldiers and citizenry. Should not decor, if not for soldier but citizenry, be (closer to) reality?
4.5 x 7.5 in. acrylic on paper
Only bearers of wounds and scars seen and not, who know gory more than glory, and entitled to wear the decoration have say.
Like General and President Washington, only imagine can I.
Though paint - with brush and word.
With sword, anymore, solemnly cut birthday cake.
Lee Marvin, Carlos Hathcock, and Dale Dye - Marines - bled. So have many Marines throughout 240 years. And many from our sister services, too. The cost of freedom is more bloody red than profit green (ironically, the complement of red). To that green it was another Marine, Smedley Butler, who, with age, came to believe 'War is a Racket' (his titled book). Wearing two Medals of Honor and a Brevet Medal, General Butler spoke, critically, with authority - he, too, bled.
A 24 x 48 in. blank canvas rests on my easel - considering a much larger, Corps specific, version of 'Bleeding Heart.'