Homecoming Planned For Berkshire Soldiers05:30PM / Wednesday, June 20, 2012
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum and The Here at Home Committee will welcome home 1st Lt. Andrew Shaw and Sgt. Kelsey Shaw, two soldiers returning to the Berkshire after being deployed abroad.
The homecoming ceremony will be held at the museum on Saturday, June 23, starting at 1 p.m. The soldiers and their families will be honored by regional dignitaries during the ceremony, which will be held in front of Norman Rockwell's rarely seen original 1945 painting "The Homecoming," currently on view thanks to a short-term loan.
A reception will follow, with homemade apple pie, lemonade, photo re-enactments of Rockwell's wartime illustrations, and the premiere of singer/songwriter Mary Verdi's "Here at Home" music video. The event is free but does not include museum admission. Norman Rockwell Museum is a committed participant in the Blue Star Museums Program, and extends the program benefits to offer free admission to active military personnel and their families year-round.
The Here at Home Committee was formed by Verdi and Rosanne Frieri, director of veteran services for Pittsfield. The committee has one goal: to welcome back soldiers to the Berkshires with a dignified welcome home greeting and salute their bravery with a billboard letting the community know of their service to the country.
During World War II, Rockwell's humanistic portrayals of soldiers on the American homefront were a reassuring presence in the popular press during trying times. The artist received many fan letters from Saturday Evening Post readers who appreciated his artistry and the stories that he chose to tell, and his May 26, 1945, cover illustration of a GI returning home to an overjoyed community of family, friends and neighbors received rave reviews.