On October 12th of 2002, off the coast of Yemen, a small sailboat loaded with explosives slammed into the side of the USS Cole(DDG 67) gouging out a hole in the side of the destroyer and killing 17 American men and women, sailors that served to protect our nation. The ship has since been repaired and those sailors lucky enough to escape only injury have healed. Yet pain remains for those that lost so much that day.
Families lost husbands, fathers, sisters, mothers. Sailors lost friends and gained fear and pain and a realization that this great United States is not safe from unbridled hatred. Since then the tragedies of September the 11th have shadowed the events of October 12th, a warning of what was to come. Yet we are not to forget that these men and women gave their lives to defend out nation, our people, our freedoms.
I set this painting as an eternal vigil, a metaphorical candle that will remain lit for all time.
The names of the fallen are as follows. Each name may be found on the painting above, none have been cropped or dropped:
Electronics Technician First Class Richard Costelow, Morrisville, Pa.
Signalman Seaman Recruit Cheron Ouis Gunn, Rex, Ga.
Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels, Norfolk, Va.
Seaman Recruit Lakiba Nicole Palmer, San Diego, Calif.
Operations Specialist Second Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, Ringold, Va.
Ensign Andrew Triplett, Macon, Miss.
Seaman Apprentice Craig Bryan Wibberley, Williamsport, Md.
Hull Maintenance Technician Third Class Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, Mechanicsville, Va.
Mess Management Specialist Seaman Lakeina Monique Francis, Woodleaf, N.C.
Information Systems Technician Seaman Timothy Lee Gauna, Rice, Texas
Engineman Second Class Mark Ian Nieto, Fond Du Lac, Wis.
Electronics Warfare Technician Third Class Ronald Scott Owens, Vero Beach, Fla.
Engineman Fireman Joshua Langdon Parlett, Churchville, Md.
Fireman Apprentice Patrick Howard Roy, Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y.
Electronics Warfare Technician Second Class Kevin Shawn Rux, Portland, N.D.
Mess Management Specialist Third Class Ronchester Mananga Santiago, Kingsville, Texas
Fireman Gary Graham Swenchonis, Jr., Rockport, Texas
......LEST WE FORGET......
(The original piece was donated to the USS Cole on the one year memorial of the tragedy. It can now be found in Norfolk Virginia)