The National Cartoonists Society and the National Cartoonist Society Foundation has been working with “Broadside” (Naval Times) cartoonist Jeff Bacon and the USO on a great program that brings cartoonists from various areas to military hospitals and medical centers for them to meet, talk with and draw for U.S. veterans who are convalescing from injuries sustained in defense of our nation. It’s an inspired and inspiring program, and many cartoonists have visited injured veterans in many U.S. military hospitals around the country.
This fall the NCS and the USO are sponsoring their first cartoonist trip outside the U.S. for this purpose. Organized by Jeff and the NCS, it will feature a number of cartoonists still being determined but in part (and tentatively) including Jeff Keane (Family Circus), Mike Peters (Mother Goose and Grimm, editorial cartoonist), Mike Luchovich (editorial cartoonist), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues), Walt Handlesman (editorial cartoonist), and myself. I am honored to be included. We will be going to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. first on Sept. 29th, and visiting with veterans there, then flying out the next day to Frankfurt, Germany. While there we will visit injured soldiers at the Lundstuhl Regional Medical Center on October 1st. The next day we will be going to the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility USO to visit the medical evacuation hub and then on to the Air Terminal USO on Ramstein Air Base. Hopefully we will be able to bring some smiles to the faces of some very brave men and women, and at the very least make sure they know their country is proud of them.
Jeff Bacon is to be congratulated on his efforts in these visits… they are something very worthwhile and I understand the soldiers have been enjoying seeing and visiting with the cartoonists who donate their time for the project. I’ll probably bring along some drawing stuff and maybe do some caricatures of those I see and visit with. Maybe I’ll get some free copies of MAD to bring with and give away. At the very least I’ll get to spend some time with some folks who have given much for our country. Regardless of what you might think politically of the war and the U.S.’s military actions in the middle east, these soldiers are deserving of our thanks, respect and our time.
I’m looking forward to the trip, and will of course give a full account of it all here on The MAD Blog.
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