Sunday, May 27, 2007

“The Wall” on My Wall

It was while I was in Germany that I began collecting art, mostly prints. The first two were a limited edition of two German peasants, male and female. Through the years I would window shop print galleries. If I saw a print that interested me, I would save the money to eventually purchase it.

The last print that I purchased hangs in my living room along with four others. This is one that I did not encounter while browsing print galleries; I first saw it in an attorney’s office and then set out to find it. It took quite a while to locate and the price, including framing, was at the high end of my budget. However, I finally was able to obtain it:

The Wall by Lee Teter

The graphic above is not a photo of the one I own. I attempted several photos, but couldn’t get a suitable one. So I located this via a Google search. It isn’t of the best quality, but it is better than the photos that I attempted.

I’m sharing The Wall with you as part of my continuing reflections this Memorial Day weekend. As I wrote on Friday, I did not serve in Vietnam. However, I knew many who did and several who returned either in flag draped coffins or with parts of their bodies missing. I remember them this weekend, men such as:

  • Billy, who attended Sunday school with me, flunked out of college, was drafted, and was one of the earliest U.S. casualties in Vietnam.
  • William, who was one of my fellow officers in the Armor battalion in which I served in Germany: he left the battalion for Vietnam where he was fragged (killed) by one of the soldiers he commanded.
  • Chuck, an officer who attended the USAEUR Intelligence School in Oberammergau with me. As of the last information I had, he remains one of the U.S. military “missing in action” in Vietnam.
  • Jim, a fraternity brother who was also with me in ROTC at the University of Kentucky. He is a Japanese-American who returned from Vietnam minus a leg.

I often look at that print The Wall that hangs on my living room wall. I remember Billy, William, Chuck, and Jim—and others. I realize that the pendulum of our nation’s politics is presently swinging away from its recent militarism. However, I also realize that in out protestation against the military adventurism of the Bush administration, we need not blame the solders. They are victims of war, not perpetrators of the conflict.

During my three years in Vietnam, I certainly heard plenty of last words by dying American footsoldiers. Not one of them, however, had illusions that he had somehow accomplished something worthwhile in the process of making the Supreme Sacrifice. ~ Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007)


  1. I'll use that Kurt Vonnegut quote sometime, somewhere.

    So glad you and Alex are both safely home.

  2. That Vonnegut quote really sums it up. It's only the politicians who trot out the lines about our "boys" dying for peace and for the common good. Too sad to say any more.

  3. Hi Nick ~~ Wonderful post for Memorial Day and I so enjoyed the rendition of "A Pittance of Time"
    Also loved that wonderful painting at the National Gallery.Thank you for sharing them with us. I hope you are having a great Holiday at home with Alex. Take care, Regards, Merle.

  4. Wonderful post, Nick.
    Love the "The Wall" pic ... amazing ... very thought provoking.
    Take care, Meow

  5. I like that picture of "The Wall", very evocative and sad.

    War is a waste of time and energy...said by me.