A tale about bravery in the mountains of Afghanistan brought strangers from Texas to Long Island on Monday to deliver a portrait of a war hero.
Brad Shotts, one of the strangers, was moved after he and his son saw "Lone Survivor." The film about a Navy SEAL team's fatal mission and the heroism of Lt. Michael P. Murphy of Patchogue led Shotts to contemplate at home in the darkness.
Later, he contacted a company that makes the memorial portraits that his Wayne Boze Funeral Home in Waxahachie, Texas, gives to families at viewings to commission paintings for families of the fallen SEAL members.
Monday, Shotts and the North Texas Patriot Guard Riders, whom he contacted, presented a portrait to Murphy's family at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Murphy, 29, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2007.
"Those eyes, a mother never forgets their child's eyes," Maureen Murphy said in an interview. "They just seemed like they were just looking at me."
The Patriot Guard honors veterans and first responders at funerals. Maureen Murphy said the family was honored that strangers traveled from Texas.
"It's nice to see that people don't forget Michael," she said.
The Murphys will keep the portrait at the hospital.
They suggested St. Patrick's Day -- their son's favorite holiday -- for the unveiling.
On June 28, 2005, Michael Murphy's four-man team was attacked by more than 30 Taliban fighters during a mission. Murphy was killed when he exposed himself to enemy fire while trying to radio for help.
Two other SEAL members and 16 servicemen also died.
Marcus Luttrell, who survived, wrote the book "Lone Survivor," which was turned into the movie. Murphy's story was also chronicled in the best-selling book "Seal of Honor."
Shott said he was honored to show the family "how their son is remembered today and how much he's loved."
Michael Murphy's father, Daniel, said the veterans center was a perfect "place of honor" to have the ceremony.
"It's about Michael and his team . . . Because as much as Michael fought and died for his men, his men fought and died for Michael," he said.
As bagpipes played, Maureen Murphy teared up. It reminded her of her son's funeral.
"The bagpipes, they get to me, especially Amazing Grace." After the cermony, about 10 Patriot Guard Riders and Shotts, the funeral home's director, visited Michael Murphy's grave at the Calverton National Cemetery.
Daniel Murphy, who visits often, met them there.
At the gravesite, there were flowers and commemorative coins, and fresh Shamrocks and Guinness bottles left Monday.
The Patriot Guard Riders held a moment of silence. They saluted Murphy.
And off they went, back to Texas.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Marcus Luttrell’s book and the basis for the movie “Lone Survivor.” Luttrell wrote “Lone Survivor,” which was turned into the movie. Murphy’s story was also chronicled in the best-selling book “Seal of Honor,” written by Gary Williams.