Well, after a weekend of my husband and I learning the rudimentary ropes of website design and updating, we have a new look as you can see. This is part of the branding of the Flier I spoke about yesterday. I’ve also designed covers for potential programs, letterhead, and promotional materials to see if the motifs can work back and forth across the various medias needed, and part of how it will look is seen above.
It’s not perfect. Partially because for some reason, while the header and sides were originally designed in .jpg format, which allowed me to play as much as I wanted, the footer was a .gif.
Don’t ask me what the difference is, I don’t know myself. What I DO know, is that apparently, .gifs can only do greyish colors and no gradients or anything fun. So the color palette had to be overhauled so that the sides would match the bottom. Oh well. It’s not worth worrying that much over.
So you can start to see what I’m thinking of doing here. The image of the submarine is actually the Flier herself, taken on the 20 of April on training runs off the coast of California. I love this image (and its twin, the stern shot) because many of the men are standing on the deck, reminding me that its not a machine of steel and brass that I’m working on memorializing, but the men who went with her and didn’t come back home. It’s easy to talk about remembering the Flier, memorializing the Flier, building an exhibit about the Flier, but this image reminds me that when I say “Flier”, I mean her 84 crewmen, especially the 76 who never came back home and left their families behind.
Some of my family members are amused by my resistance to reading sad books or watching sad movies, yet my near-obsession with this project and the fact that I have a huge file full of photographs of these men, reminding me of WHO these guys were. I guess in a way, as an artist (since that is what I have my college degree in, truth be told) I feel like I’m bringing their characters to life in the best way I can with the skill that I have. It’s a sad tale, true, since so few survived, but they sacrificed themselves willingly.
My husband was in the Marine Reserves when we met, and he drove me home every month during his training weekend to visit my family. We got to know each other well on those trips. In the dead of winter once, I asked him how his training weekend went, and he told me how they went far north in Michigan and camped in the drifts of snow, and marched through deep drifts covered in ice crusts that exhausted them having to punch through, and how hard it was to keep up at times. He was stating this matter-of-factly, but I started to feel sorry for him and say so. After the third time or so of me saying, “Oh I’m sorry,” he turned to me and said, “Why do you keep saying that? You asked me how my weekend was, and that is how it was, but I don’t feel sorry for myself or the other Marines in my platoon and I don’t like you feeling sorry for me either. I signed up to do this to protect my family and friends, and country and I do so willingly, even it is hard or cold or if we get called up to go somewhere for months at a time. It’s an honor to serve, and if necessary, it’s an honor to die so my family and friends and even you can live in freedom. So stop feeling sorry for me.”
It was a hard lesson to learn, but since then, I’ve heard it echoed in many other active duty and veteran’s voices: It’s an honor to serve and protect my country, I don’t want your pity for my tough life. Just do your best, and remember those who gave everything.
So here I sit, a civilian married to a former Marine (Medical Discharge, long story), with members of my family coming from the Army, Air Force, Marines, and perhaps soon another Sailor, doing my best. I hope it’s enough.