After 20 years…

It seemed important to do something in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. I’d forgotten we call this “Patriots Day”. What better place to be than the permanent home of so many patriots. I decided to once again visit Tahoma National VA Cemetery in Kent, WA.

I have sketched this grave before. SFC Chapman was the first soldier to die in combat in Afghanistan. Sergeant Chapman was a communications specialist with the 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis, Wash. (Section 6, Site 33). More about him.

I thought about him as I sketched. Nearly 20 years since his death, I wonder what he would think about our situation now.

Hybrid Urban Sketch: grave sketched on location. The lights commemorating the twin towers from various images and my imagination.

A few people had stopped by before me, given the number of pennies on the headstone.

Memories from that time:

On that morning, we were getting dressed for work, listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” when we learned what had occurred. The West coast is 3 hours behind, so it had already happened by the time we learned of it.

Less than two weeks later, a couple co-workers and I flew out to Baltimore on the first day planes were allowed back in the air. That was rather nerve-wracking! We were supposed to fly to Reagan but it was still closed. So Baltimore was the closest to our destination. We were headed to a national VA Social Work leadership conference.

It was at a Post Office retreat center that had been a large convent. FBI training center was co-located.

While there, Peace Corps volunteers and their families arrived, having been evacuated at very short notice from the ‘stans. It was then that we all realized that the USA was about to invade Afghanistan.

We set about “doing Social Work” with these evacuated volunteers as they were quite traumatized by having to leave everything and everyone behind. They were very worried about the local people with whom they worked and served.

About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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