Saturday, September 10, 2016

Michael Kiefer. We will not forget.







Michael Kiefer, 11 September, 2001



New York, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, Benghazi.  We will not forget.


On 11 September, 2001 I was in Amman, Jordan. I was the senior member of a small American military detachment getting a refresher course in Arabic at the Royal Jordanian Military Language Institute. At the time of the attacks, I was just signing onto my email account at an internet cafe in central Amman. I saw a news banner announcing that two planes had crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center, and I was certain that I was looking at an advertisement for a movie. Within two minutes, my embassy cell phone rang. "Get all your people to the embassy right away." I was told. That's when I knew it was no movie ad. 

As I was scrambling to get my colleagues together, 26 year-old Michael Kiefer was breathing his last in New York City. Michael was one of the 2,996 innocents who lost their lives in Al Qaeda's most successful attack on our nation. Maybe you remember it? In case you've forgotten, let me remind you by telling you about Michael, because Michael Kiefer is a shining example of what our nation lost in that attack.

To say Michael was a fireman does not do justice to the drive and the passion he brought to his work. Some people have a job they do and others have jobs that they are; by all accounts, Michael was one of the latter. From his early years he knew that he wanted to be a fireman. Childhood photos show him wearing a fireman costume, and people tell of how, as a boy, he was so accomplished at mimicking the sound of a siren that he once convinced his school bus driver to pull aside for a firetruck that wasn't there. 

Michael bought a scanner that he used to listen for fire alarms, and would ride his bicycle to watch the firemen work. Sometimes he rode so far from his neighborhood that he was brought back home by police escort. Michael earned perfect scores on his fire academy physical and written entrance exams, and began training in October, 2000. He graduated in December of the same year. He drew one of the busiest assignments, engine Company 280/ladder Company 132 Firehouse of Crown Heights Brooklyn. In achieving his lifelong dream, we could say that Michael Kiefer accomplished more in his short life than will many men who live to see a century, but that would be only half his story.

In addition to being a fireman, Michael was a committed Christian, beloved son to Pat and Bud, and older brother to Kerri and Lauren. He was saving his money to buy a ring for his girlfriend, Jamie Huggler. Son, brother, boyfriend. He was the kind of guy who dedicated himself to a job that would put his life at risk in order to save others. He was just one of 2,996, who died at the World Trade Center,13 years ago today, but in him was a reflection of all the strength, the selflessness, the goodness, that we love about America. On this anniversary of our nation's loss, take a moment to remember Michael. Say a prayer for the peace of mind of those he left behind, and give thanks that our nation can still be the home of men like him.





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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Neipperg


Here's a painting I just finished. Neipperg is a village in the town of Brackenheim,

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chosen for Next Year's Baden W├╝rttemberg Art Calendar



So, I just learned today that this painting, "Cabo da Roca," was chosen by Nussbaum Medien, to be the August image in their ArtBW Kunstkalendar for 2017. (That's Baden W├╝rttemberg Art Calendar.)
I'm very excited.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Two out of three

Spring

Winter

Here are the first two of what will be three paintings of the same apple tree branch. The final painting of the triptych will be Fall.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Schloss Lichtenstein

At 29 x 25 inches, this is one of the largest watercolors I've ever painted. A subject like this seems to demand it.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pinnacle

As you can see, I've been painting a lot of winter scenes lately. That's hardly surprising, but what I did find surprising was how difficult painting snow can be.

Last Stop Before the Summit


Winter Forest


At a meter in width, this is one of my biggest paintings yet.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Winter Farm


Now that winter has finally arrived (Don't get me wrong; I was in no hurry for it to get here, and I'll be glad to see it leave.) I'm enjoying how different everything looks when illuminated by light that has been diffused by snow clouds.