By Senior Airman Joel Mease 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
SOUTHWEST ASIA — Chipped away and neglected, a barrier painted as a memorial for 9/11 has the words, “Not Forgotten” emblazoned on it just outside the Coalition Compound Theater where hundreds to thousands of people walk by it every day.
After noticing the mural became more of an eyesore than a memorial, a professional organization decided to do something about it.
“The Rising 6 took sponsorship of the 9/11 memorial barrier because it symbolizes the reason we are in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Hartwell, Rising 6 president. “That time should never be forgotten.”
The Rising 6 is a service organization dedicated for service members in the enlisted ranks of E-1–E-6. With a group of Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines who put service above self, it didn’t take long to get volunteers.
“We received an overwhelming response from individuals wanting to volunteer to do the restoration project,” Hartwell said. “We had them submit samples of their artwork and made our selections from there.”
Senior Airman Adrianna Recine’s love for art drew her to the project.
“I volunteered to paint the 9/11 wall to show those who sacrificed their lives were not forgotten,” said Recine, a laboratory technician with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group. “The original painting had worn away with time and displayed the words ‘Not Forgotten’ but the peeling paint made a different statement. I wanted to contribute in the best way I know how – my passion, painting!”
While the original goal was to restore the memorial, the lack of paint left on the memorial and the severe cracking of the remaining paint would require a complete reboot.
Recine said her goal was to respect the previous artist, but add her own addition to the memorial.
“I have always done my own artwork and have never done a restoration before,” Recine said. “Although I prefer creating my own piece with my own ideas, the request was to make it look like the original, but I was able to make my painting a little more realistic than the design before.”
The art on this memorial is projected to be completed within the week, but Recine said she hopes to put her mark on works of art around the base, as well, before her deployment ends. However, she said this one stands out from any of the other art projects.
“I am so honored to have had this amazing opportunity,” Recine said. “May God bless the men and women and know that they were certainly ‘Not Forgotten’ here.”