We the People: Portraits of Veterans in America by Mary Whyte
We the People goes beyond the heroic archetype soldiers and veterans hold. Instead, artist Mary Whyte celebrates the roles these men and women have taken on since their return to civilian life. More, Mary Whyte embarks on a seven-year journey that admittedly takes her into the depths of the communities of our nation to find these men and women who have become so woven back into their community that her travel plans are anything but traditional.
The concept behind Whyte’s book is to paint one veteran from each of the fifty states to create a cumulative portrait of America. She would spend the duration of the project on a plane, in a cruise ship, on a lobster boat, and even a golf cart to find these men and women: Christian, a window washer in Oak Park, Michigan (Army Private First Class, 2007-2011); Adriane, a postmaster in Skagway, Alaska (Air Force E – 4, 1989-93); Don, a groundskeeper in Jackson, Wyoming (Navy Patrol Plane Commander, 1950-55); and Anthony, Mayor of Harrington, Delaware (Navy Hull Tech E-4, 1979-84).
Anthony “Tony” Moyer started in the Navy as a hull technician in 1979 and, by 1984, became a search and pilot rescue. He met his wife, Marine Corp. Veteran Eve, while stationed in California. By 1989, Moyer moved to Harrington, Delaware, with his growing family. Moyer had left the Navy but was instilled with dedication and desire to continue to serve his people. The past twenty years, Tony, as many in his town have come to know him, has served on the Harrington Council. He’s organized and founded the city’s annual Christmas Party to raise funds for local food donations and in 2013 becoming the Mayor of Harrington.
Like others highlighted in Whyte’s collection, Moyer has become a vital thread in the fabric of our community. Their time served in the armed forces has become a chapter in a much longer story, a story that deserves to be recognized and that most included would otherwise not think to tell.
I’ve had the honor of meeting Anthony Moyer; his daughter Amber is a dear friend. Whyte’s remarkable paintings and sketch illustrations of the men and women who have served our country shed new light on these individuals and offer readers an opportunity to recognize these veterans–our neighbors–in new ways. Their service to our communities and their impact in our lives continues. They are our best friends’ parents, our family members, our community dairy farmer, lobstermen, or chair maker. Many have quietly slipped back into their lives. As Veteran’s Day seeks to celebrate the men and women who have served their country during their time in the armed forces, the work continues every day as they serve their family and communities in other but just as meaningful ways.
Veteran’s Day reminds us to show our appreciation for those who have served our country, Whyte reminds us for these Veteran’s and the 20 million other’s in the U.S. that these individual’s work should be recognized everyday.
For More information:
Check out the CBS Morning Special on Mary Whyte aired November 10, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/we-the-people-mary-whyte-watercolor-portraits-of-50-veterans-from-50-states/
Check out more of Whyte’s work on her website, https://www.marywhyte.com.