José G. Acosta could easily represent the man Toby Keith sings of in “American Soldier:” He doesn't do it for the money, nor for glory, he just does it anyway.
Acosta – a Navy chief and disabled veteran – has chosen to dedicate his gift as an artist to creating charcoal renderings of the men and women killed while in military service to their country.
At a convention for Gold Star and Blue Star Mothers last year in Louisiana, he told the audience, “You might forget who I am, you might not remember my name, but I promise I will never forget any of you, and I won't forget your children, your loved ones, your wives.”
Agreeing to an interview with the Jacksonville Daily Progress, the Orlando, Fla., resident asked only that the focus be on the fallen and their families.
He has set up a Facebook page (José Garcia Acosta), where he quietly posts artwork and poetry that focuses on the fallen and their families; it is where viewers can see among his photo albums images of “Clouds of Heroes,” panels filled with the faces of the fallen as a reminder for the country to not forget who the true heroes are.
“They should remember that the freedom they are able to have today is something that is (from someone whose blood has been) spilled,” Acosta said. “It's important to remember that these people didn't just disappear. They died serving their country, serving us … maybe they'll remember these heroes and every time they see the flag, they will salute it in honor of the ones who passed on protecting them.”
The idea for the “Clouds of Heroes” collection – there are seven panels in all, the last one still being completed – came about about two years ago.