At INSP we honor, respect and admire the men and women who serve our country.
On this Memorial Day, we pay special tribute to those brave heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight for freedom.
This is the story of America’s fallen service members, the families who want them back, and a painter who brings them back in an unexpected way. It is a celebration of life, family, and community.
In INSP’s original series Brush of Honor, artist Phil Taylor is on a mission to paint portraits of America’s fallen heroes and hand-deliver them to surviving family members across the country. One painting at a time, he touches the lives of grieving parents, spouses, and children who have lost loved ones at war. “As an artist,” Phil says, “I feel I am called to use my paintbrush to honor the sacrifice of our military heroes and offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ on behalf of a grateful nation.”
What Makes a Hero
In each episode, Phil embarks on a journey to learn as much as he can about a particular service member in order to accurately reflect the fallen hero’s true spirit in a hand-painted original portrait. He visits the service member’s hometown, meets with family members and friends, and starts to understand the heart of the hero and the kind of upbringing that leads a young service member to willingly serve and lay down his or her life for our nation.
Along the way, a portrait of a hero begins to form in Phil’s mind, and he races back home to Texas to capture it on canvas.
Honoring a Fallen Hero
While Phil works on the painting for two to three weeks, his wife, Lisa, organizes an unforgettable ceremony where the never-before-seen portrait will be revealed and presented to the service member’s family. In many cases, the ceremonies are held at sports arenas, memorial parks, or other public venues while dignitaries, servicemen, and members of the local community look on. “It’s always an emotional moment when the canvas is finally unveiled,” says Lisa, “and there are plenty of tears and smiles.”
A Hero Returns Home
Each episode of Brush of Honor ends as the portrait is hung in the family home, and the service member is welcomed home once again. “When a soldier leaves home and never returns, it leaves a huge sense of emptiness in the house,” says Phil. “Our hope is that these portraits will restore a sense of the fallen hero’s life and presence in the family home and provide a place where the families can spend time with their loved ones whenever they need them most.”
Since the inception of The American Fallen Soldiers Project in 2007, over 130 portraits have been painted and presented to the families of America’s fallen military across the United States.