This idea has been a dream of ours since our return from Iraq in support of OIF ’05-’07. The premise behind this project is twofold: to bring about understanding, foster empathy and bridge the widening gap between service members and civilians through the creation of the published book. Upon the completion of the book, use a large portion of the proceeds from the sale to fund the Graffiti of War Foundation offering support and healing through artistic creation by those afflicted with the silent wounds of war, PTSD.
As this war has entered its tenth year our nation has become silently divided, the widening divide between soldier and civilian grows with each year. It has become more and more difficult to understand the life and trials of a deployed soldier and their family. Although most Americans support our brave men and women, they don’t grasp the magnitude of what affect this conflict, these deployments have on the families and on the mind and soul of the soldier. In documenting these images created by soldiers, marines, and airmen, our aim is to give a unique glimpse into the minds of these warfighters. To give America an inside look at what has gone almost entirely unseen to the vast majority of the public. Many of these images are raw and created in the moment on unconventional canvases in a very unconventional war. This art, this emotion on canvas will help civilians understand what it is to be separated from family, to lose one of your own in a blink of an eye, to get a feel, a taste of what 15 months fighting a very unpopular war is like. We want to bridge that divide growing in America, we want to bring back the empathy that is lacking for these men and women, and empathy is an emotion that requires understanding, which is our mission. To bring understanding to Americans not familiar with the emotions of war.
We have, from the beginning, wanted to do something for our fellow veterans and current service members that would benefit every aspect of their life. From their emotional and mental state to their creative minds and incredibly selfless acts of service. And it really comes down to this: As service members going through Basic training, either as Soldiers or Marines, Airmen or Sailors, we were getting yelled at, belittled, pushed to our physical and mental limits, but one thing kept us going, each other.
When we went to war, some foreign hot (or frigid) hellhole thousands of miles from our warm beds, we didn't quit. When we did some of the most difficult things, ever to be asked of a citizen of this Nation, we did it, not because of some politician, or policy maker, some President or Congressman, we did it because of US. We did it for our brother on our left and our sister on our right. We did it, and would do it all over again, because we had each other's back.
Our reminders were everywhere, on our Tanks and Helicopters, on those rucks we carried and those aid bags we wiped clean of blood, U.S........Us, you and I, and those we lost......US.
That was our mission and still is, as veterans, former soldiers and marines, and airmen and sailors. US, By Any Means Necessary! Why should our care for one another stop when we get our DD214, why should our support of one another cease when we are assigned to Fort Couch? It doesn't have to and it Damn well shouldn't. Therefore, our mission at the Graffiti of War is to continue that tradition of support and camaraderie to support our brothers and sisters to our left and to our right. Why should we let the civilians corner the market on success? We are millions strong now, our numbers have grown. Our great-grandparents and grandparents did it in WWII; they came home and grabbed their success, took it and made it their own. We can learn from the mistakes of Vietnam, we shall not be judged by those who never took a man's life for their country, that never watched their buddies die in their arms, that doesn't know what it is like to taste the blood of their brothers and sisters-in-arms while their life is sucked away thousands of miles from their loved ones.
We are strong, we made it through, and we can accomplish anything because of what we have already accomplished.