This is the local WUSF website. Visit the national VCH site here.

Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide

From Afghanistan: A Soldier’s Poem

Lt. McGehee while training in Colorado.

Lt. McGehee while training in Colorado.

Army Lt. William McGehee was thrilled to learn that a poem he wrote in high school inspired another student’s work of art honoring members of the military and first responders.

Currently on his second tour in Afghanistan, it’s difficult for him to get reliable access to the internet. However, he managed to record his poem to share with all involved with the Platform Art project.

Listen to Lt. McGehee read his poem on honor which he recorded on a tablet while sitting in his quarters in Afghanistan.

And he sent along the following words to be read at the unveiling of the “Honor Sculpture,” May 9, 2014,  at Kryger Park, 108 S. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland.

McGehee’s message to Lakeland:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to thank you for taking time out of your day to join us. This dedication serves as a reminder for all who ever will walk here that art is still alive in American culture, that inspiration can come from any source, and that we as a nation have not forgotten the sacrifices of those who keep this nation safe.

It is easy in this world of mass media and visual overload, to lose sight of the meaning behind a piece of art. I believe that art goes beyond esthetics and possess a spiritual presence which speaks for the human condition. To put it simply art tells us stories.  The story in this sculpture is simple yet powerful. It is our story, the story of sacrifice, the story of anyone who has ever sweated and bleed for our safety, and the story of all those who gave their final full measure of devotion.  This is a story we must never lose sight of.

This story told here today came about in a very unlikely way.  A young artist found an unpublished poem on the internet to use as the center piece for her prize winning work. Years ago a young high school student got the idea for that same poem… from a video game.  Please, when you feel that itch to write, to drawl, to sing, no matter where it came from, no matter how insignificant it may seem, do it. You can never know what great story your action could come tell the world.

Thank you all for listening.