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Gold Star Marine Mom's Journey from Benton, Ark. to Camp Pendleton, Calif.Story and Poem by Luke Easter Salem-News.com
“.I think John would be happy with the vehicle He would have a big smile on his face....” - Mother of fallen Marine John M. Holmason
(CLEVELAND) - Karla Comfort received a lot of looks and even some salutes from people when she drove from Benton, Ark.., to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in her newly-painted, custom Hummer H3 March 2.
The vehicle is adorned with the likeness of her son, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. John M. Holmason, and nine other Marines with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 7 th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division who were all killed by the same improvised explosive device blast in Fallujah, Iraq, in December.
For Karla Comfort, having the vehicle air brushed with the image of the 10 Marines was a way to pay homage to her hero and his fellow comrades who fell on Iraq's urban battlefield
”I wanted to let people know (Marines) are doing their jobs honorably, and some of them die,' said the 39-year-old from Portland, or 'I don't want people to forget the sacrifices that my son and the other Marines made.”
Leading up to her son's death, Karla Comfort had received several letters from him prior to his return. He had been deployed for five months, and Comfort, "worried everyday he was gone until she got the letters and found out the date he was coming home," she said.
Marines knocked on the front door of her home in Farmington , Mich. , at 3 am with the dreadful news. “I let my guard down when I found out he was coming home,” she said. “There are times that I still cannot believe it happened. It's very hard to deal with.”
Karla Comfort came up with the idea for the rolling memorial when she and her two other sons attended John's funeral in Portland, Ore.
I saw a Vietnam (War) memorial on a car, and I said to my son Josh, “we should do something like that for John,” she recalled. “He loved Hummers.”
She purchased the vehicle in January and immediately took it to AirbrushGuy & Co. In Benton , Ark., where artist Robert Powell went to work on changing the plain, black vehicle into a decorative, mobile, art piece. "I only had the vehicle for two days before we took it in,” she joked.
Two hundred and fifty man-hours later, Powell had completed the vehicle. The custom job would have cost $25,000. Out of respect for Karla Comfort's loss and the sacrifices the Marines made, AirbrushGuy & Co., did it for free. Comfort only had to purchase the paint, which cost $3,000.
“I love it,” she said. “I'm really impressed with it, and I think John would be happy with the vehicle He would have a big smile on his face because he loved Hummers.”
Benton, Ark., to Camp Pendleton, Calif.
_____________________________________________Luke Easter is a poet who writes about things that are very close to the heart of Salem-News.com. Another former U.S. Marine, Luke heals the world with an approach that reaches people on a different level, one known for centuries, yet too often forgotten in the one we live in.
We live in a world of social & economic injustice. The main reason for founding America in the first place was to relieve the oppression of the King of England. Patrick Henry said it best, “give me liberty or give me death.” And yet, all too often death seems to be the only way out. Why is there such a high suicide rate especially among teens, in the land of the free & the home of the brave? What makes headlines? Good news? Ha! More depressing stories than anything else. I feel poetry takes an edge off the hurt of bad news while still delivering it but in a, “glitzy” sort of way. Giving a different perspective. Kind of like slap in the face as opposed to a knife in the back. At least with the slap you’ll live to see another day and you will know whom it’s from. I wasn’t here for the beginning of the world but at 59, I just might be here for the end.
Even though it’s still a knife, rhyme poetry helps to dull the blade. And that’s my job. You can write to Luke Easter at: email@example.com
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