There’s something I want you to know | Guest View

By Michael Reagan | Sep 11, 2019
Michael Reagan

Editor’s note: Artist Michael Reagan, who created the Fallen Heroes Project, posted the following on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Sept. 11. It is edited and reprinted with his permission.

This page is not about politics; its about sacrifice, love and respect. In all of the years I've had this page, I have done my best to ensure I never say or do anything that further hurts a family member of a fallen hero, be it a Marine or soldier, first responder, etc.

That is because of what happened 18 years ago.

I am attending an event in Edmonds this morning, and will be wearing a FDNY 9/11 hat sent to me by the FDNY as a thank you for drawing some of their fallen from that day.

But this morning, I also want to share a story that lives with me every day. I had been commissioned to do portraits of President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush in 2000. Those portraits were eventually sent to the White House, where the presentation was being set up.

Then 9/11 happened, and it was canceled.

On Feb. 14, 2002, I went to work at the University of Washington, like every other day. I turned on my computer, and there was an invitation to meet with the president and first lady in Anchorage Feb. 16 so I could present their portraits to them.

Two days later, I was standing with the president and first lady, less then six months after 9/11. The president had asked me if it would be possible to meet without the press present. When I said yes, that's what happened. He and I stood face to face. A lot was privately discussed that morning that only belongs to me.

But I want you to think about what is was like for me to be standing next to the president as he explained his broken heart for all the people who died on 9/11. Imagine when I saw tears in the president’s eyes when he talked about that day.

Then he asked me a favor. He wanted me to stay alert to what I might be able to do to help the families of the military that were about to become involved in the reaction to 9/11. I promised him I would, and that is one of the main reasons that after 16 years and more then 6,400 free portraits, I am still drawing Fallen Heroes.

Here's something you don't know. The president personally delivered some of my portraits to the Gold Star families.

I wanted you to know.

Michael Reagan lives in Edmonds.

 

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