Coming Home: Tributes to the Fallen

By Hames, Jacqueline M. | Soldiers Magazine, May 2009 | Go to article overview

Coming Home: Tributes to the Fallen


Hames, Jacqueline M., Soldiers Magazine


THERE are many types of memories, and many ways to record them. Our lives are filled with the sounds, images and belongings of those we have met, befriended or lost. With the invention of the digital camera, we can now preserve in crisp, high-definition clarity every moment we desire. But there is something no camera can capture, no voice recorder can grasp: the essence of a person.

Michael Reagan, an artist based out of Seattle, provides free, hand-drawn portraits to families who have lost a loved one in the war on terror through the Fallen Heroes Project. His portraits have the ability to do what the camera cannot--capture and hold the spiritual aspect of the person depicted.

Eric Herzberg, a former Army captain, is one of many recipients of Reagan's work. Herzberg's son, a Marine, was killed in action in October 2006. After hearing about Reagan, Herzberg asked the artist to do a dual portrait of himself and his son.

"We had a personal connection right away--he's former military, I'm former military. But when I received the portrait that he drew of Eric and myself it was just so absolutely stunning," Herzberg said.

"I had a reaction I didn't expect because it meant way more to me than just the image on canvas, on art board, that he had been able to do. It was like there was a spiritual component to it, that, you know, he's bringing part of my son back to me and I was just always struck by that."

The connection that he and Reagan shared prompted Herzberg to offer his help about a year after receiving the portrait of his son, while visiting Seattle on a business trip. He discovered that Reagan had been operating all aspects of the project entirely on his own.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"So I said 'Michael, I don't know how you're even standing up after three years. You've got to be able to just do drawing and let someone else do the rest.' And he looked at me and said 'Well, who's going to do that?' And I said 'Well, you know, why don't you just let me take a crack at it. You don't know me very well--we just met. But you're going to find out that I'm a person that does what he says he's going to do,'" Herzberg explained.

Since then, Herzberg has helped organize and run the business aspects of the project. By working with the Fallen Heroes Project, he feels he is honoring his son's memory.

"It's been truly a blessing for me," Herzberg says. "This is more like therapy for me than anything else. If I wasn't helping him, I'd probably be doing something unhealthy to numb the pain or deal with the loss of my son."

Reagan, a Vietnam combat veteran, drew celebrity portraits for 30 years, donating the proceeds to charity, prior to starting the Fallen Heroes Project. A nationwide news network aired a clip of him speaking about his portraits, and before he knew it, he had a request. A woman who saw the broadcast called him and asked if he could do a picture of a fallen Soldier--for free.

Unable to deny a fellow veteran, Reagan readily agreed to draw the portrait.

"To be real honest with you, I had no idea what it was about to do to my life," he said. When the woman received the portrait, she called Reagan to thank him. The woman had not slept through the night for a year, since her husband died in Iraq; the portrait allowed her to reconnect with her fallen hero, and she finally slept.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

From that moment on, Reagan felt he was called to provide solace to the families of the fallen.

"I'm supposed to do this," he said.

The project has been distributing portraits for five years, and provides pictures for every branch of the military. To date, more than 1,600 portraits have been given away, all for free, including postage. He considers this project more important than his previous career as an artist.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Coming Home: Tributes to the Fallen
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.