I have always wanted to visit the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in DC. I’ve been to DC several times but never made it to the Gallery – usually due to having others with me who couldn’t bear the idea of another museum.
I was browsing articles about the Gallery yesterday when I came upon a new portrait.
The artist’s work won a spot in the gallery after being selected from among 3300 other new portraits. You can read about the competition and the details of this portrait HERE and HERE
This is Army Sgt. Richard Yarosh …
Sgt. Yarosh was injured in Iraq in 2006. The vehicle he was in hit an IED and burst into flames. In addition to the articles above you can also read more about that HERE
What struck me about the portrait was the sense of dignity, quiet dignity.
Here is a real person who had a life before war and who, with an astounding amount of courage and work, has a life after war. Rich has gone through 35 surgeries. He did not look at his own face for 5 months and says it took many more months to feel comfortable enough to show it out in the world.
I really recommend reading the articles I linked. I took great comfort in the comments of those who were viewing the portrait for the first time.
The sacrifices made by soldiers and their families cannot be measured. The challenges faced by anyone who is disfigured or disabled cannot be described.
Those of us who sit on the sidelines of war need to do more. All the bumper stickers and flag waving and peace globes on earth don’t equal volunteering some time at a VA Hospital or helping a military family.
I have had many days lately when I felt I couldn’t face the world. On the next one I will think of this portrait and it will be easier to push forward.
Thank you Sgt. Richard Yarosh