I’m looking forward to my signing event this Sunday, Oct. 8 at the Ft. Belvoir Exchange at Ft. Belvoir, VA. It’ll only open to active and retired military personnel and their families so it’s a little bit different from my normal signings. But I love these military events and try to do at least one every year. For one thing, everybody is so young! It’s always great to see that kind of energy and enthusiasm, and very gratifying to me that those fine young people even know who I am! Being with them, the people literally on the front lines guarding our nation, is a great privilege for me. Something I try to do every chance I get.
And it brings back a memory that’s pretty special to me. One Veteran’s Day a few years back I had the honor to do a signing at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA. One of the Marines I met there gave me a gift I’ll treasure as long as I live. It’s a lapel pin that has the American flag on one side and the Marine Corps flag on the other. He told me he’d worn that pin every day through two tours of duty in Iraq. He wanted me to have it because his wife loves my art, and he knew it had given her some happiness while he was away. It was the most meaningful award I could ever receive, that in some small way my work could provide comfort to a family making that kind of heroic sacrifice. It was a moment I’ll never forget. All I could say was, “Thank you!”