Client: NM Veteran's Park
Location: Albuquerque, NM, United States
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $12,000
Memorial sculpture to honor the 400 New Mexicans who died during the Vietnam War – the message walls in concrete (8'), steel (6') and travertine (4'), with 400 holes, for connections to family, friends and everyone who want to leave messages, flowers, gifts, photographs, and thank yous for service.
How do we continue the memories of the fallen to family and community - by participation, recognition and history. Walls are usually built for separation, but my design built these walls for connections. Simple, contemporary, local materials and next to a bench and names of all the fallen.
I am also a veteran of the Vietnam War era. So I have spoken to many who have come home and families of those who did not. Two Zuni Indian brothers built the concrete and told stories, a young welder brought the steel to life and New Mexico gave me the travertine from its soul. The 400 fallen occupy the space with their spirit. We even had a Navajo Code Talker at the opening. Thus the title "Holes in Our Hearts".
Some pictures of this spirit wall reached a lady in Kansas whose husband died in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart. She had no relatives and kindly sent us his Purple Heart to put into one of the larger Holes. Thank you.