Rocket's Red Glare Seen and Heard at Heartland Conference Hog Roast

Posted on in Heartland, Heartland 2017

By Sarah Buzynski, VGM Marketing

Patriotism unites, and as part of the late Van. G. Miller’s legacy, it’s a defining quality of the VGM family.

Joe Everson elevated the sense of patriotism felt by attendees at the Heartland Conference 2017 Hog Roast fireworks display by not only singing the National Anthem, but painting its representation—simultaneously.

“I felt such a sense of pride that I teared up,” said new VGM member, Denise Trimmer of Choice Health Care in Hanover, Pennsylvania.  

Heartland attendees witnessed Everson on stage, painting what looked to be abstract art while expertly belting the Star Spangled Banner. His body movements and brush strokes paralleled the lyrics, intensifying as he sang and the rocket’s red glare, even spattering paint toward the canvas at the bombs bursting in air.

As our anthem neared conclusion, Everson spun the piece to reveal a nearly-completed portrayal of the iconic Joe Rosenthal photo of the American flag being raised over Iwo Jima. All that was missing were the red and white stripes of our flag, which he artfully spread across the canvas to the words home of the brave.

Everson refers to his performance as Project Benny, in memory of his cousin, Benny, who died during his service in the Vietnam War. “It brings personal, contextual meaning to this performance as a way to honor the flag that represents so many people who give, or have given, their lives for our country and our rights," said Everson.

The painting from Everson’s performance will be displayed proudly in VGM’s newest building on the main campus.