"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Honor / Remembrance / Peace

Those are the words I needed to keep in mind.

Four weeks ago, Capt. Richard Gordon Cliff became a Dad. He gave his name to his son.
Three weeks ago, Capt. Richard Gordon Cliff, a Green Beret, left the US for his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Monday, Capt. Richard Gordon Cliff was killed. He was 29.

http://www.jeffersonpost.com/articles/2008/10/03/news/local01.txt

Yesterday I received an email from a relative of Richie's. She had purchased one of my bottlecap necklaces at Knockabout and wrote to ask me if I could design a necklace for Richie's widow. She said she didn't want red white and blue patriotism, but something that would honor Richie in a more subtle way, and keep his memory close to her heart.

What an honor.

Above is the necklace I designed. My goal was to honor Richie in every detail possible. Below you can see the results. The background is a neutral color (by request). The three stars represent Richie, his wife, and their son. The phrase "Sine Pari" means "Without Equal" and is the motto of the US Special Forces, of which the Green Berets are a part. The motto for the Green Berets is "De Oppresso Liber" - "To Free the Oppressed". I sealed those words onto the back of a heart charm. Most of the background beads are green - for the Green Berets, of course. The extra heart charm is for love, of course, and the hole that will always be in his widow Stacy's heart.

On the flip side, how could I not use a bottlecap from RC Cola - afterall, RC are Richie's initials.


I didn't know Richie, or his family. My heart breaks for them. I know they will spend the next days, weeks, and months wondering how life can go on so normally for all the people around them - all living in oblivion to the tragedy they have suffered. If you follow the link at the top of this post, you can read a little bit about Richie.

So, thank you Richie, for giving your life, the ultimate sacrifice, for my freedom. Thank you Stacy, for letting him go. I am so sorry for your loss. I know it is unbelievably great. And thank you to all our servicemen and women who honor duty to country above all else. You are heroes. I look forward to celebrating the day that you can all return home.

Honor, Remembrance, Peace ...

13 comments:

kiwicarole said...

Gosh, what a sad story, and what a lovely piece of art work you have created. I am sure it will be treasured. Carole

Vivian said...

What a wonderful way to honor his memory. The necklace is just beautiful.

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

I actually subscribe to the Jefferson Post, since our cabin is near there, and had seen this tragic story. Your necklace is beautiful and so was your post.

Sherry said...

Oh my gosh, this brought tears to my eyes. Truly a heartfelt charm and a wonderful post.

Michi, Orange County, CA said...

What a special and wonderful momento for Richard's wife . . . this story certainly brings home the sacrifices our armed forces make for us to keep our country free . . . thank you for sharing, Michelle.

morningDove said...

today I am already struggling with emotions and your post well, it sent chills down me. Thinking of a child that was born and will never know his dad in presence only memory. Your piece is appropriate for the occasion. A lovely, thoughtful addition to a widow. Tears flood my face for the loss goes deeper.

needlewings said...

Oh Michelle! What thought and sybolizm that went into your piece. It may not replace the loss, but it holds things that matter close to the heart. I cherish our freedom for his sacrifice. May his legend live on as a reminder to all and his family comforted in tragic sorrow.

Diane K said...

What a loss-for his wife and son, for his family, and for this country. And what an incredible honor for you to create this beautiful tribute. I am sure it will a comfort and a treasure for his wife.

Joanna van said...

How sad. But what a great piece to share his memory. It's so sad he had to dye in war. I can see how you put a lot of thought into this lovely necklace

Judy said...

Oh my goodness . . . it's so sad to lose so many lives. You put so much thought into this piece, I'm sure she'll treasure it forever.

3rdEyeMuse said...

Michelle, I am humbled by the care and respect you put into this beautiful piece for Richie's wife; may it bring a little peace to her.

Anonymous said...

Michelle, This is very touching and beautiful. I am very proud of you and your accomplishments.

Wiseguy

Sue said...

A very beautiful and special necklace. Well done, Michelle.