A Veterans Memorial often a commissioned sculpture that is built to recognize those that fought and died in defense of their country. The contributions of veterans have helped create the world everyone lives in today, and creating memorials is one of the ways that society makes an effort to thank them. Honoring the survivors and the dead can take many forms, and they range from services to holidays to building physical reminders. These memorials come in a variety of formats, from museums that are intended to educate as well as remind, to towers, benches and plaques. Although many cities across the United States have erected these monuments of remembrance, they are by no means unique to America. Other countries that have been ravaged by war also respect their veterans in this way. Cross culturally they serve as a site to honor those that were lost and appreciate those that survived.
Many in the United States are located in the nation’s capital, Washington DC. A popular example of a Veterans Memorial is the one dedicated to the Vietnam War, which is made of a few different elements. A bronze statue of three soldiers, a gabbro wall of names, and a set of statues honoring the nurses that served compose this monument, and there are even traveling replicas of the wall. Some of the other monuments that are larger and well known were erected for World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. A look at each will reveal that there is no standard or universal format, shape, or size when it comes to building a Veterans Memorial. Some use iconic symbols like the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross. Some are massive, while others are small. During the construction of any Veterans Memorial much care is given to choosing the site and design. This is done in order to properly capture the commitment, sacrifice, and spirit of those that fought for their country.
Whether it is a plaque listing the names of the fallen or a masterfully posed statue, foundries are particularly useful during the construction of a Veterans Memorial because they have the skills and equipment to create high quality metal castings. Works rendered in bronze do not rust and can have an impressive amount of detail. Expressing gratitude or providing a place for reflection with a piece like this ensures that it will remain standing for many years to come.
The true purpose of these monuments can be found in the root of the words themselves. Memorial derives from the latin word ‘memos’, which translates as ‘mindful’, and a veteran is someone who has served in the military. Not every military conflict is considered a war but that does not make the experience any less dangerous or galling. Being aware of the past and offering a tribute to both the survivors and the fallen who answered the call of their nation is an effort to preserve memory and share it with future generations. Offering a patriotic tribute to those killed, captured and missing makes sure that what they have done will never be forgotten, no matter how many years pass.