"LEST WE FORGET" By BILL. PHILLIPS
(Detail from Print)
GREAT SIGNATURES !!
General Curtis E. LeMay
and Eighth Air Force Pilots
Bill Lawley MOH
While visiting friends in England during 1984, Bill had the opportunity to travel to a number of now-abandoned 8th Air Force Bases. One afternoon, they took a bicycle ride to an old church nearby. he was so moved by what he saw that he felt he would have to try and make some type of statement."
An open letter about this painting to a friend he never knew:
The scene. It probably hasn't changed much. The afternoon skies are full of billowing cumulus clouds and the trees and fields are alive with the bounty of summer. The sounds of engines and men's voices gone, replaced by a gentle whisper of the wind through grain fields or the song of an occasional bird. In the distance, one can hear the laughter of children.
The planes. They are the big six of the 8th Air Force: B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-26 Martin Marauder, P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning and P-47 Thunderbolt. You worked on them during freezing nights of winter and nursed them home, so badly damaged it seemed there was no way they could fly. You gave them names and they took on their own personalities.
The boy. He is part of a generation you probably didn't give much thought to at the time, for you see, he is your grandson. He lives in a world that would amaze you. Oh, it is still far from perfect but because of your sacrifice and the sacrifice of thousands like you, he still have the right to choose freedom over oppression.
The old churchyard. It is still there much the same as when you were here. But there is a monument there now that you wouldn't have seen. It stands as a reminder to all who view it that you paid the ultimate price for their rights and freedoms.
The painting. It expresses that childlike innocence and idealism that we all possess; at times hidden away, but there if we but attempt to find it. The painting is a personal memorial to your sacrifice from my generation and those generations yet unborn . . . "Lest We Forget."
Published from the artist's original work.
LEST WE FORGET by WILLIAM S. PHILLIPS (B-24:B-26: P-38: B-17:P-47:P-51:Curtis LeMay:Bill Lawley: Andrew Low: James Farrell: Robin Olds: Hub Zemke: Gerald Brown)@vbader.com