Sal Musarra Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc, Raleigh, NC
Deborah Martin Mintz Arts Council of Fayetteville, NC
Steve Schuster Clearscapes, Inc
In each day of a soldier’s life, there are many moments and acts of selflessness and courage, but I chose to illustrate “courage” in this sculpture centered around a soldier’s focus on those around him, on how the safety and protection of others comes first always, even under fire, when a buddy is down, everyone comes home.
The sculpture uses three triangles to represent three soldiers; two outside soldiers are carrying and supporting a wounded warrior. The central ring in each triangle is the symbol of focus, heart and courage, qualities inherent to them all finding their way back to safety.
The stated purpose of the North Carolina Veterans Park was to create a park dedicated to and honoring veterans from all service branches, past, present and future. The park vision included a commitment to infuse the very nature of the Veterans Park with meanings and materials sourced from within the state. Along with large, reflective stainless steel art panels, custom art-glass panels, abstract “Mountains to the Sea’ profile, and five large Service Arches were seven sculptures by NC artists created from salvaged military materials. These sculptures are in the main “Service Life” plaza, central to the park. Each artist was selected based upon their body of work with preference given to North Carolina artist and veterans. Each artist was given a guiding theme: Service, Commitment, Dedication, Courage, Strength, Sacrifice, Heroism to guide their creative process and directed to create a sculpture of meaning that was not recognizable relative to the origin of the source materials. The sculptures had to fit on precast concrete bases with finished work 7’ high x 30” wide and 15-20’ long depending on the base. Public health and safety and material durability were paramount.
From its inception a goal of this project was to fully engage the veteran and arts communities across NC to create a place of special meaning.
The sculptures in the “Service Life” plaza are meant to honor our Armed Service members by giving recognizable military artifacts a powerful and emotional representation of service life with the themes: Service, Commitment, Dedication, Courage, Strength, Sacrifice and Heroism. The idea of integrating the silent stories of service life into the fabric of the park is shown in the design elements in all areas of the park: “A Veterans journey: Life before Service; Service Life; Life after Service”. Besides the seven sculptures, one hundred bronze hands are pinned to the Community Plaza Wall, raised to shoulder height, poised to recite the Oath of Service mounted on the wall. Each bronze hand is a life-sized casting from a veteran of every NC County to represent all veterans, past, present and future. Hand castings from veterans and their families from 100 NC Counties are presented on fifty concrete and glass columns to represent the support provided to veterans by the community.
I am proud to be a Vietnam Era Veteran and honored to participate in this Project. The NCVP embodies creative inclusion of not only art but the true meaning of being and honoring Veterans.
The materials used in my sculpture “Courage” are parts that every service person can recognize: military truck hoods, ammo boxes, wheel rims, locker doors, windshield hinges, tie rod ends, radiator grate guards. The images of the Medals infused in the glass at the front of each triangle are the highest honors in each Service Branch: Medal of Honor, Medal of Valor and Purple Heart Medal.
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