Have you ever had one of those projects that, for lack of better phraseology, just gives you fits? I’ve been struggling for a few weeks with mine – I didn’t like the original picture, I didn’t have a frame, the print arrived late, my tape gun broke…you get the idea. Then early this morning I finally finished framing it, and am giddy over it.
Two months ago my mother-in-law asked me if I would donate another picture to the Missouri Military Monument Foundation’s 2nd annual Golfing for Heroes event. Of course I would! So I began to think about what I wanted to do. Last year I did a very iconic print of St Louis – the Old Courthouse with the Arch in the background and I wanted something beautiful, but meaningful and special for this year.
After mulling it over for about a month, I went back to my mother-in-law, told her I was “stuck” and asked if she had any ideas. We chatted and I grabbed my camera and went out to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. It was early evening on Memorial Day, the flags were placed by the tombstones, the sun was setting, and it was quiet and peaceful. I walked through each section and took hundreds of pictures. When I thought I was happy with what I had, I went home and started editing them. I was happy, but not HAPPY. So I put them aside. I came back to one picture several times over the next couple weeks but just couldn’t make myself get excited by it. Then I had an idea. I called my husband and asked “Does this print need to be of St Louis?” and after I got a “No, I guess not.” I went running for my photo archive.
The MMMF is a non-profit organization raising funds to build a monument to honor Missouri service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Desert Storm. Once built, this monument will hold a special place for my family and other area families who honor the local heroes of today’s generation. Monuments and statues are places of awe and respect and are such an important part of our culture and landscape that remind us of our heritage and ideals.
I vividly remember the day I went to the Statue of Liberty. It was a beautiful late summer afternoon seven years ago. Every second of the ferry ride over to Ellis Island and walking around the base of the Statue is burned into my memory. I just stared up at her in amazement for the longest time, then I got out my camera. She is America’s “Beacon of Freedom” and a symbol of what the brave men and women fought for that this new monument will honor. And that is why this year’s print had to be of Lady Liberty.
If you would like more information on the Missouri Military Monument Foundation or the 2nd annual Golfing for Heroes event on Friday June 29, please visit www.missourimilitary.org. There are still spots available.