Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

Quick Links

  • Health Programs
  • Protect your health
  • Learn more: A-Z Health
Veterans Crisis Line Badge

JRRD Cover Art Award Winner 2003, Paul Fujinaga

Paul Fujinaga

Relight the Flame

    Although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was created in 1930, America’s care of its veterans goes back to the Revolutionary War. And at his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln renewed America’s promise to “care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.” This care extends not only to veterans physical health, but also to their emotional well-being. This is why the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD) continues to feature artwork selected from among the entries of the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is the culmination of a yearlong fine arts talent competition open to all veterans receiving care at VA medical facilities. The festival spotlights the artistic talents of America’s veterans, while providing a nurturing environment for veterans to heal both physically and emotionally.

This year’s cover art Relight the Flame is the work of Paul Fujinaga, a festival participant and Army veteran who served in 361st Signal Battalion, II Corps, in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. Paul was one of nearly 3,000 veterans who entered the performing and visual arts competition in 2002 and, in doing so, received the healing benefits of art therapy.

Relight the Flame was written in conjunction with a project created in a VA art therapy group, at the Honolulu VAMROC. Fujinaga’s inspiration for the piece came from the first battle casualty he witnessed in Vietnam. Although Paul didn’t know it at the time, witnessing that casualty made him lose complete faith in humanity.

Made of beach stone and acrylic, Relight the Flame symbolizes Paul’s struggle to quiet the demons that haunt his sleep, a result of service to his country in Vietnam.