Search This Blog

Sunday, July 10, 2011

THANK GOD FOR THE SOLDIERS; May They Forget Their Memories, May We Never Forget Their Payment

by Resa LaRu WARCHICK Kirkland

Artie Rodriguez, Country/Western singer and songwriter
I met him at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the start of the still ongoing Korean War, at Arlington National Cemetery.  Out of 1500 musicians who had answered the call from the Department of Defense Korean War Commemoration Committee, Artie Rodriguez and his original song were chosen to sing at the event.  Like me, he was the son of a Korean War Veteran, and he, too, had been inspired by his dad, Arthur Rodriguez, for whom he was named.

Artie’s original song that he sang for the massive crowd and multiple media outlets was a tribute to his beloved dad, who had lied about his age to enlist at the age of 16, was dropped behind enemy lines the night before the most successful amphibious landing in history—Inchon—was taken POW and into North Korea, turned 17 while there, ate fish heads until he could bear it no longer, escaped with a fellow prisoner, was shot while escaping, and still made it to friendly lines.

Korean War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery
All before he had lived two decades.  That is the kind of man only freedom breeds.

It was being raised with the hesitant stories of his dad, seeing his suffering and the horrors of PTSD, yet seeing him still humbled at the sight of the American flag, saying the Pledge of Allegiance in a voice shaking with tenderness but clear with the power and love of one who knows what it really means, all of this inspired Artie to write the song for his dad and sing it at the 50th anniversary of the Korean War.  His dad’s nightly pleadings to God to “forget his memories” of that awful time spawned the song that would win Artie his place of honor as the featured crooner at the 50th Commemoration in Arlington that hot June day.

Artie’s style of singing is more Western than Country, a tribute to his love of the original stars of the Country-Western music genre, complete with traditional steel guitars and obligatory twanging that is at its base.  A fitting way to honor the generation of our dads, as clearly recognized when he was chosen out of the 1500 audition tapes sent in to the committee’s call for an original piece to honor the veterans of America’s longest running and still active war.

Korean War POW following repatriation

We met there that day in 2000, two children of Korean War Vets trying to honor the noble men of that forgotten time, and became friends…I have never forgotten the song then, and will not now.  He learned from his dad’s story as I did from Ricardo Carrasco’s story that what makes the American warrior most Godly of all earth’s inhabitants rests forever not in what he’s willing to give, but for what he’s willing to give up so the rest of us don’t have to.  And as Arthur Rodriguez continues to pay the price for a life scarred so long ago, his tribute from a son who prays for his dad to forget his memories will be that he never will.  For Artie’s requiem to a life well-lived is the prayer of every true warrior to this day—Please God, help me forget my memories of war.  It is the eternal anthem of Post Traumatic Distress Order (PTSD.)


May they forget but not be forgotten

Artie is a veteran Marine himself, and loved the story of Ricardo Carrasco…and when he wrote the song below, I told him I would use it for Ricardo’s story someday.  He approved.  It is an ode to soldiers everywhere.

Artie cares for his dad pretty much on his own, especially since his mother died several years ago.  He has remained faithful to the father who remained faithful to truth and right, even through the agonized prayers he heard his dad pray nightly, begging God to help him forget not just what war did to him and his friends, but what it forced good and decent and loving men to do as they fought to stop evil and preserve freedom.  Thank God for these soldiers, and may God grant them their request to forget, but forever burn it into our souls.  They’ve earned that right; we owe that burden.

And that ragged faded American flag still flies high in his dad’s front yard.

Keep the faith, bros, in all things courage, and no substitute for VICTORY.

No comments: