I once had a good friend named Ninus who served in the US Armed Forces. Ninus was like a brother to me. He was such a generous giver and would do anything for his friends because he was so very kind-hearted. While stationed in Germany, Ninus met the sweetest German girl and fell instantly in love with her. He wanted to be with her all the time, but because she lived in a different town, he would have to wait until the weekends to see her.
One weekend, Ninus and three friends from his unit, were going to go visit her in the small German town where she lived. They planned to meet and hang out at a local pub in the town. Unfortunately, they were leaving for a field training exercise and so Ninus and the other soldiers had to get back to their base to report for work in the morning. This meant they could not stay overnight and had to make the drive back to their base. On the drive home, Ninus was in the passenger seat, two soldiers were in the back, and all three were passed out. The designated driver grew tired during the drive and fell asleep at the wheel. The car went off the road at 90 miles an hour and hit a tree dead-on. Ninus’ seat belt ripped, he went through the front shield window, and his chin was crushed into his chest. The two soldiers in the back walked away with minor injuries while the designated driver was in a coma for about two weeks. Ninus was gone forever.
At the funeral on base, when I walked into the church I could only see straight down the aisle. At the end of the long aisle, I could see a tall table with a military issue helmet, a pair of boots, and a rifle neatly arranged on top. I asked a friend who the items belonged to and I was told they were Ninus’. I didn’t know his body would not be present. Several soldiers began speaking about Ninus and the Chaplain went next. As the Chaplain finished speaking, I looked up and was taken completely by surprise. I did not realize at first, just how many people were there to celebrate the life of this amazing friend and soldier.
The last person to speak was the First Sergeant of Ninus’ unit. He said a few words and then started to call formation. When the First Sergeant did roll call he would call a soldiers name and they would reply, "Here, First Sergeant!" He would call another solider and they would reply, "Here, First Sergeant!" My heart started pounding when he called the third soldier’s name, “Ninus.” No answer. He called again, “Ninus.” Again, no answer. He called for a third time with no reply and then there was silence. The silence lasted about five minutes and then trumpets started playing. Shots were fired in honor of the lost soldier and fighter jets flew across the sky. I fell to the ground and cried my eyes out. For the first time I knew what it was like to lose A Friend, A Brother, and A Soldier of the US Armed Forces serving to protect our Freedom. Ninus’ life was taken too soon, but I do believe he is in heaven. He was truly an Angel.
This painting is dedicated to Ninus and to those who have lost someone serving our country. Being an Artist and Photographer, paintings and photos are memories, and each one tells a story from my life. I hope the story of my friend will touch others’ hearts, because even though Ninus is no longer here, his spirit is still alive. I was delighted to receive a letter from our President Barack Obama who gave me recognition for my support and dedication to our men and women serving for our country.
I named this painting, “A Cry for a Fallen Soldier” "All rights reserved"