Serving With Honor

Air Power - Acrylic

United States air power is being discussed at length these days, especially as it relates to conflicts in the Middle East. Have you ever witnessed a U.S. Air Force fighter jet streaking across the sky? It makes you stop and stare. I am especially in awe of the USAF Security Forces, myself. All military men and women (and their families) give up a lot for their country, and for freedom, not just here but around the world.

Air Force Colonel Joe Romano is, to say the least, a well-known, colorful character. He and my husband are old friends and comrades. They are two very tough Airmen that you do not want to mess with, ever. Anyway, Col. Joe asked me years ago to paint what was the newly built Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C. He was, and still is, working at the Pentagon. I was busy and overwhelmed with so many things in life at that time, so I didn't paint it.

Then, my husband came home one night and said, "Joe Romano is retiring, and he's having his retirement ceremony here, not at the Pentagon." Oh, wow. Did you ever feel like The Lord was tapping you on the shoulder and whispering in your ear?

The ceremony was coming up fast, and I had very little free time. So, one night I painted all evening and well into the early morning, but I finished it. (A very small sacrifice compared to that of any military person I know.) Then we gave the painting to Col. Romano at the ceremony and he was...let's just say...completely surprised and thrilled. (I can't repeat his colorful language here, but he loved it!)

Fast forward to last week. Col. Joe Romano (ret.) is in the Pentagon, and the Pentagon art curators come in to his office and take the painting off the wall. He says, "Excuse me, what are you doing? That is my own personal art."

The art curators say, "Are you sure? This looks like one of ours." He tells them he is very sure. And they say, "This should be in our collection. It's very good."

Should I have painted it sooner to honor this Airmen who sacrificed freely and gave so much? Probably. But, I'm glad I did it...better late than never.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

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