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Google recruits injured vet to paint Veterans Day Doodle

Artist Pete Damon hopes his artwork conveys the importance of honoring those who have served in the US armed forces.

- 01:57

Pete Damon, who lost parts of both his arms while serving in the Iraq War, is the artist who created this year's Veterans Day Doodle for Google.

Jennifer Damon via Google

Monday is Veterans Day in the United States, the day when Americans pause to honor and give thanks to those who have served in the US military.

Google traditionally turns the focus of its Doodle each Nov. 11 to honoring the contributions of those brave men and women, many of whom suffered life-altering injuries -- both physical and emotional. Pete Damon, the artist who created this year's Doodle, is an Army veteran severely injured in the service of his country who carries the reminder of that sacrifice with him every day.

Damon lost parts of both his arms in 2003 while serving as a helicopter mechanic during the Iraq War. For Damon, art was a form of therapy that morphed into a career.

For almost as long as Google has been around, it's livened up its barebones search page with artwork that draws attention to notable people, events, holidays and anniversaries. Google Doodles have celebrated, among many other things, Pac-Man's anniversary, Copernicus' birthday, Mother's Day and the World Cup, as well as reminding us of lesser-known real-world heroes.


Pete Damon's Paying Tribute highlights the importance of honoring those who served in the US armed forces.

Pete Damon via Google

Damon's oil painting on canvas, titled Paying Tribute, features two children wearing camouflage and a sailor's cap and planting American flags. For Damon, this is a familiar image.

"I've been painting scenes of children planting flags for some time now," the Massachusetts-based artist wrote in a blog post describing how he drew inspiration from photos his wife took during outings with their son's scout troop during flag plantings.

"I've witnessed children taking part in similar displays of patriotism on Veterans Day when large fields, usually in public spaces, are filled with a sea of little flags," Damon wrote.

"I found the scene of those children honoring veterans to be very moving and profound."

While Damon was honored to be asked to be part of the project, he admits to being a bit apprehensive about whether he was up to the task. But he was determined to give it his best because of his personal connection to the subject.

"With this piece, I hope people will realize and appreciate the personal sacrifice that all who serve in the military endure securing the liberty of all Americans," he said. "I particularly hope that people will recognize the importance of teaching children to honor their service."

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