Rosecrans 6

Rosecrans 6

Journal Entry for Sketch #6
April 19th-Easter Sunday


Today about 100 feet along the road from Brian Kennedy’s grave, I find two more who died during the first two days of Iraq War—one a marine who died in the same accidental helicopter crash as Brian Kennedy and the second a navy lieutenant who died in a second accidental helicopter crash on the second day of the war.

Jay Thomas Aubin, Major
US Marine Corps
Persian Gulf Iraqi Freedom
“Our sweet pea”
Died at age 36-second of first four killed in this war


Thomas Mullen Adams
LT. US Navy
Persian Gulf Iraqi Freedom
“He’s just pining”
Died at age 28 – one of soldiers killed on 2nd day of war

No one is at these graves when I arrive. Recreating bicyclists and joggers pass by on road at top of ridge. I note it is low tide. Note new grass germinating on grave of Brian Kennedy since last week. Also, a new potted pink tulip tipped over near his head stone. I sketch near the new dead with my back against the head stone of another Vietnam dead: Thomas Frederickson Bruck, 1935-1966, SRK.

Mockingbirds churl in the nearby trees. A dull buzz of machinery noise emanates from the military docks below in the harbor; and, I hear planes taking off from the more distant North Island Naval Air Station to the south across the bay entrance. Only one other woman is in the graveyard. She is dressed in a black business suit and has parked her recreational vehicle along the cemetery loop road near the ridge top. I see her first searching, then finding, then standing silently at the grave of her loved one.

I pray for guidance from these war dead as I look off to the Mexican mountains on the southern horizon. I think ‘there is no way to know whether these Iraqi War dead were courageous or merely victims at their death.” We can be fairly certain the Iraq dead died obeying orders in a military they had joined voluntarily unlike the majority of the Vietnam dead. Sadly, it appears from my last two visits, that these recent dead are being visited/honored by few other than close family. I wonder at our national embarrassment at visiting those who have died in our wars.

I discover another Vietnam Vet, Michael Hart, U.S. Navy, died 1979, at age 40. Because of his age I cannot conclude whether he died in the war or after he returned from duty.

The woman in the black car leaves and I am alone again.

A second black recreational vehicle pulls up beside the two now graves of the Iraqi dead. Two women emerge from the car (one old & one young) and walk off to honor an older grave—oblivious to the new heroes. Perhaps because I am here, they notice the new graves when they return to their car.

I find myself apprehensive that those coming to visit the graves particularly of the Iraq dead will find my presence offensive. I decide generally it would not be a good idea to talk to people visiting the cemetery about my project. After all I do not know these dead men—I am not a part of their family—and after all my purpose (seeking inspiration for human reconciliation) is not what they believe in (I think).

Next a Hispanic family comes to visit the grave of their grandfather nearby. They too notice the graves as they walk back to their car.

Finally, a young woman in a pink sweater and sunglasses arrives to mourn and honor the grave of Thomas Adams. Thank you God! A second man (much older) also in pink arrives to offer his condolence to the woman then leaves after awhile. I notice the woman stays and appears to be very connected with the dead man. I suddenly feel the desire to bring flowers with me to these graves at my next visit.

I finish my sketch and decide to break through my apprehension and embarrassment and decide to talk to the woman at Thomas’s grave. She tells me she was an old friend. She says they had been apart for and she had been waiting for him to come back to California. I ask her if se can tell me something about him. She immediately responds very unexpectedly and without hesitating saying “He was a Dwork!” I ask her which of the dead he was and she says the 7th, but first naval officer. I am surprised by her “Dwork” comment but realize it is the response of someone who loved this man and just couldn’t believe he died before coming back.

I drive out of the cemetery by the grave of Brian Kennedy and the pink tulips in the pot are now righted and a new Easter lily sits beside it.

rosecrans 6

>> Next: Journal Entry for Sketch #7

0 thoughts on “Rosecrans 6

  1. This piece was previously part of a naming group at the artist’s gallery. The name picked for the piece at that time was “Knight’s Ascension”. Please feel free to provide your comments on the appropriateness of this name or suggest another story/name to go with this piece.

  2. Brad
    When I looked at your sculptures I immediately thoughts of the knight templars. Don’t know why… The armours???

  3. I disagree with “The Knight’s Ascension” as a name. There is much more going on here than this title indicates. The horse and the skeleton both seem to be singing and the knight seems to be offering himself willingly to the skeleton, which I perceive to be the spirit of death, perhaps even embracing it. This small sphere above the shoulder of the knight could be a bullet heading towards him and thus the scene is the moment of his death. The horse could be singing a mourning song, representative of those you saw visiting the graves this day, or perhaps you created a horse, not a person, to represent how few people were visiting the graves of those who recently died in Iraq or that only those who have experienced war (such as the horse) could properly mourn the death it brings. But I think the greater story or message in this piece has to do with accepting, acknowledging, and respecting death before it arrives. “In Tune with Death” “The Inevitable Song”

  4. Many hours later, I looked at this piece again, saw the smile on the knight’s face, and understood the original title. “The Knight’s Ascension” includes what I was saying before about accepting death by charactarizing death positively, and it leaves out the stuff I said about mourning, which didn’t really ring true, anyway.

  5. title: Betrayal
    Bush embacing death (distruction) of the “Middle East ” I come to you to save you even if I have to destroy you.
    The sphere is the unrelenting sun…source of all energy or representational of weapons

  6. I see this piece in two ways: the first, a warrior must always understand that he could die at any moment, as death hovers near; the second, he must not give in to death in order to survive. I feel like he is being sucked in by death, but his open arms makes me think he is acquiescing with a kiss on the cheek.

    “Silent Acquiesce”

  7. This piece is for me about war’s seduction and the ripple effects. The hold is both tender and arresting. It appears the cause is righteous and pure and yet they are held in by the dripping face of their own mortality. One pebble, one action, is tossed into the sky to ripple out, moving energy beyond. Jo

  8. When I saw this one it immediately invoked visions of the Crusades. It appears that the Crusader is embracing death. I feel this is a parable about the current war in Iraq and the inevitable end that unjust war always comes to. The willing embrace of death (by our so called leaders). The horse could represent the common persons (soldier) as he seems to see death coming and is alarmed by it.

  9. These title suggestions were submitted in writing by persons attending the Rosecrans Exhibit at the Louden Community Center in Santa Cruz, CA:

    No Name: Cavalry Kisses

    Inara: The skeletal form looks alien like. The force
    taking youth away is alien to an artist’s
    way of thinking.

  10. The Knight’s Ascension seems to me to address all the issues voiced here so I will go with it.

  11. The Crusader has embraced thw ways of death and is being drawn closer and closer to their inevitable end while the simple horse, the slave of the warrior, tries to tell its master that this is not the way to go. Allure and Whispers of the Soul is my title. It is a powerful clash.

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