Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Portrait of a Fallen Soldier and His Family – Kaziah’s Painting of LT Robert Seidel III

Readers of The White Rhino Report are already very familiar with the story of Rob “Sly” Seidel, the West Point Class of 2004 graduate who died in Iraq in May of 2006.



The Seidel family recently shared with me a video that lovingly tells the story of a painting of Rob that was painted by a woman in Utah. Kaziah Hancock has donated her skills as an artist to paint portraits of American’s fallen heroes – those who have died in combat. Rob’s mother, Sandy, tells of how perfectly Kaziah captured the essence of Rob in getting his eyes just right in the portrait that she sent to the Seidel family as a gift. Rob’s dad, Bob, shares his feeling that the portrait reminds the family they the nation is mourning with them the loss of Bob and Sandy’s son and Stephen’s brother.


It is fair to ask the questions: “Why am I sharing this information with the readers of The White Rhino Report, and what do I expect as a response from those who take the time to watch the video?”

I share this information because of the truth of the Honduran proverb:

“Grief shared is half grief; Joy shared is double joy.”

By sharing in the grieving of the Seidel family – and the thousands of families who have lost loved ones in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – we take a small portion of their grief upon ourselves, and by celebrating and honoring with them the remarkable character of Rob – and those like him who have died while serving their country – we add to the joy and the pride that they feel in the fine son they raised.

What do I expect? I do not want readers to respond in a maudlin way or a self-absorbed way. The ideal response would be to find a personal way to take a concrete step in helping a wounded warrior or the family of one who has given his/her life. Kaziah was moved to give of her art. I would hope that we would all pause for a moment and ask: “Is there something I can do as an individual that would be helpful and healing to one person or to one family?

Not everyone can paint a portrait, but we each have the capacity to add a “brush stroke” of a letter written, a memorial gift made to a scholarship find, a job interview granted to a veteran or a visit to a hospital or rehabilitation center. Take a moment to reflect, and I am confident that you will know what you can do. And in acting, we each add our own gilded frame around the portrait of Lt. Rob Seidel and his brothers and sisters in arms.

God bless.


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