Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Artists in the Military

I don't know if I could have passed the physicals or endured Basic Training when I was 18 (I had recurring problems with bronchitis that was later diagnosed as being caused by a low level asthma), and I have always had a respect for our men and women in uniform. As I have grown older and realized just how much out-of-my-league their level of discipline is, my respect had grown. The safety of my children, and the future of my country are in the hands of noble and hardworking people.

One aspect of the military that I was always aware of, but that many are not, is that the military actively promotes and collects art. When I was a teen, I would read and re-read Up Front (1945) and Back Home (1947) by former Stars and Stripes cartoonist Bill Mauldin* and had other resources that showed military art. As a kid fascinated by everything World War II, with a dad who had been in the European Occupation after the war and who was an avid bibliophile, there was a lot of military art for me to see.

Today's Opinionjournal has a wonderful article on military artists and Dinfos (the Defense Information School) that is well worth reading. It is heartening to see how well the US Military supports its artists, including financially.

The money quote comes from Marine Artist Cpl. Annette Kyriakides Spurgeon,

"Artists are a dime a dozen; not everyone can be a Marine."

That's true.

Thank you Cpl. Spurgeon for being both, and all of your brothers and sisters from Dinfos in the military as well.

*(note, the entry on Bill Mauldin in Wikipedia is not entirely accurate, as it doesn't mention Back Home and says that Mauldin stopped using the Willie and Joe characters after the war, yet he did so in Back Home. As always, double-check everything on Wikipedia)

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