A pair of seemingly unlikely, but typical New York mentors reached over the barriers of class, language, culture and national background to help Joe Hing Lowe, a young Chinese laundryman searching for a turning point in life. One was Bill Lawrence, an African American artist who knew the pains of rejection and loneliness. He called Lowe his "#1 son." Another was immigrant artist Lajos Markos, who left Hungary when the Communists subjugated his country just like they did to Lowe's home country China. Before long they had the steam iron pusher wielding a pastel pencil on Washington Square. One day, Lowe realized that he could make it here in America as a painter. He recalls the feeling as "one that was tremendous, like nothing that you can describe. I felt my destiny had opened up."
Memorial Day is a time to remember how our destiny as the land of opportunity, equality, and freedom of religion was assured by the many sacrifices of our armed forces. Young refugees like Lowe and Markos found brilliant careers here in America. Lowe is so renowned that he was elected to the Pastel Society Hall of Fame and has received many other honors.