The Joe Bonham Project
by Jeff Fisher
I was introduced to this endeavor by my friend and fellow artist Victor Juhasz. Victor was brought on board by Michael Fay, a retired Marine and war artist. It’s called the Joe Bonham Project, named after the character from the classic anti-war book Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. Victor, who has a son in the Marines, was aware I too had a son serving in the military, a Navy Corpsman assigned to a Marine battalion deployed to Afghanistan. And so he suggested I should also come on board and I did so enthusiastically.
Michael made it his quest to be sure that the wounded servicemen coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan would not be brushed aside or forgotten, but rather their sacrifices should be heralded along with their heroism. Through the medium of drawings and paintings, this becomes another way in which to show these servicemen they are appreciated.
The artists participating in this venture come from several different areas. Some have served as war artists, and drew on the battlefields. Others have drawn at courtroom trials and others have done reportorial images on site. They come from the military, and some, like Victor and me, are members of the Society of Illustrators. I have been to Bethesda Naval hospital, and had the opportunity to draw the wounded Marines. After telling people what we’ve been involved in, some have said that it must be depressing. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The servicemen I’ve had the privilege to draw have such unquenchable spirits, despite the physical price they’ve paid. It was a bit humbling to me to see these young men who know their lives would never be the same again, but they weren’t defeated by their present conditions. If in some way the service would let them become active again, I’m sure all of the ones I’ve met would jump at the chance to accept such an offer. It gives one hope for the future to see firsthand the attitude of such men, such Americans, such Marines.
For more on the Joe Bonham project, please visit: http://joebonhamproject.blogspot.com/.
Sgt. Joshua Elliot
Sgt. Jason Ross
Sgt. Jason Ross Stage 4
Sgt. Blumenberg in a fitful sleep