Homecoming soldiers were a popular subject for illustrators in 1945. But for this end-of-war cover, Rockwell took an unusual approach to capturing a veteran’s welcome home.
A traditional cover would have shown a G.I. standing tall and proud among civilian admirers, and Rockwell had produced a cover like that after the last war. It showed a tough, confident doughboy surrounded by adoring younger boys. But at the end of this world war, he gives us a slim, young Marine sitting on a box. As if to emphasize his youth, he is seated beside a little boy who is mimicking his pose.
The newspaper on the wall gives us his back story: The mechanic who’d enlisted for the war has now returned a hero, probably from the Asian theater, judging by the flag he is holding. But, instead of recounting tales of glory, he is looking up with a thoughtful, almost troubled expression at the boy who has just asked him a question.
Rockwell was a master at conveying the subtleties of human expression, and it’s clear his intention wasn’t merely to show a hometown boy back in familiar surroundings, but also to capture the newly returned veteran’s feeling of isolation — knowing he can never adequately convey to the folks at home the things he experienced in the war.
This article is featured in the July/August 2020 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
Featured image: (Norman Rockwell / SEPS)
Christmas is a season outside of time. Each holiday is new and fresh while at the same time connecting u to every other Christmas we’ve ever known. So each holiday season brings with it not just joyful moments but a generous helping of the past.
Christmas planning can be a joy, but it often veers towards comedy. In the hands of Post cover artists, the experience is presented in equal parts delight, misery, and silliness.
If the windup to Christmas is hectic and exhausting, John Falter’s cover reminds us what an amazing spectacle the holiday is to children. In their cautious, pajama’d descent down the staircase at first light, one can almost feel their joy that, after weeks of longing and anticipation, the magical day has finally arrived.
This article is featured in the November/December 2019 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
Featured image and artwork: SEPS.