I've made no secret that I admire combat fighter pilots and am in awe of their skills and bravery. A few years ago, at the Salinas, California Air how I bought this picture. It's called "Flying The Jolly Roger" and it's by Robert Watts.
This is part of the artist's description;
A pair of navy F-4 Phantoms of VF84 prepare to recover aboard the carrier U.S.S. Independence....Seen against a beautiful Yankee Station sundown, an element of F-4s decelerate in preparation for deck landing following a combat mission in 1965.
The print, #508/1000 is signed by three aces; Commander Randall 'Duke' Cunningham, MG Marion Carl and Colonel Manfred Rietsch. And therein lies the problem.MG Carl and Colonel Rietsch shouldn't have to endure being associated with Cunningham in any way, shape or form.
Cunningham is scum of the first order. I included a link to a Wikipedia page on him and while they're not exactly the finest purveyors of the truth I think they got this one pretty close. I followed the story when it was ongoing and took down this picture from my den wall and put it in a closet where it has remained. There is absolutely no way I'm going to display something signed by him. I briefly considered burning it and sending him a photo to his prison cell but decided to wait. After his sentencing in 2006 I looked at the picture again and knew for certain that I'd never again display it. I toyed with selling it but never got any further than that.
It is an absolutely beautiful work and the artist is talented. He's hardly to blame for what Cunningham did. Yet my quandary remains. What to do with it? I am not keeping it, that is settled, so I'm turning to you and asking for input. What would you do with it? I want everyone's thoughts but I'm especially interested in veterans who would care to chime in. Have a favorite military or veteran charity who would take it, perhaps to auction it off and use the proceeds to do some good for our vets and current service? Should I use it as a manifestation of my disgust with corruption and burn it publicly? Anyone just want the damn thing?
Maybe I'm overreacting? I don't think so but I'm willing to take all opinions to heart. I love the work, I really do but it has to go. I can't abide the thought of having anything that man even touched in my house any longer. If I don't figure something out I'm just going to take it out to the secret test range and see how many rounds of 12 gauge it takes to obliterate it.
What do you think?