[youtube id=”Ph5Ha_cG7LI”] 12/15/2014 (press release: thtjb) // Layton, UT, USA // Jeremy Beal
Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars deserve a national memorial to honor their service and sacrifice during Operations in both locations says Jeremy Beal, Sculptor and Creator of the project.
“There is no national memorial dedicated to the valor and sacrifices made by those members of our Armed Forces who honorably fought, and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice, in these wars. I served in the military and, like many people around the country, I know people who answered the call of their country, and didn’t make it back home. These people gave everything for the cause of Freedom. This is a small way that we can say thanks to those that gave their lives and those who served in either of these wars.” said Beal.
Since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, about 2.5 million members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and related Reserve and National Guard units have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Department of Defense data. Of those, more than a third has been deployed more than once. As of today, approximately 6,839 U.S. service members have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Beal said, “This national memorial is to demonstrate our appreciation for their bravery and sacrifice. We owe all men and women who serve our nation a debt of gratitude, and those who serve in war should have their exceptional efforts and sacrifice recognized. This memorial is designed to do just that. It is important to note that it is a living memorial as the conflicts it represents are still being fought. It can be changed as time goes on. If, unfortunately, more names need to be added, they can be at any time. We hope that we wouldn’t have to, but with the wars still going on, we will have the ability to add names as needed. This will be an awe-inspiring memorial to honor the heroes that gave their all.”
What the Memorial will look like.
The exterior of the building will be a round structure about 50 Feet in diameter. As you move towards the building you will see large granite pillars; on the ground level Corinthian Style columns standing 15 feet tall. Above those, inset from the edge by 5 feet, a second wall of double Doric columns rising up another 10 into the air, shadow and light dancing between each column set in the hollow of the alcove rounded out, and about a foot in depth, for the full height of the columns. Sitting on top of that columned wall a gleaming dome made of glass with a design; a symbol representing ‘eternal love and thanks’ created out of metal and holding glass panels in the same design. The glass will be hand poured with stars etched in the design.
Entering the structure, the Corinthian style columns on the exterior will be single columns around the entire perimeter of the building and then three feet away towards the inside of the structure another wall of double Ionic columns creating a hallway in which a stream will flow from entrance to entrance with lights reflecting in the water; reflecting the ripples and movement of the water and creating a calming, peaceful feeling so that you feel serene as you walk into the memorial. Upon entering you will see the tree.
The Tree will be standing on a four-foot-high stack of clear glass panes with brilliant white light filtering through the quotes that are etched on each pane, each quote pertaining to the cost of freedom, and the cost that people have given for that Freedom. The bright light will shine from the base of the tree towards the top of the building. On the top of the hill structure that these panes of glass create will be a carbon fiber fallen soldier sculpture, standing in stark contrast to the rest of the sculpture. The tree will be standing next to the fallen soldier sculpture, made of multiple strands of acrylic covered wire looking like woven glass, creating the tree, going from a root structure to the trunk and up into the branches. At the tip of each strand of wire will be a large leaf containing two (2) LED’s and a leaf that has the name of a service member that gave their life.
Down at the base of the entire sculpture there will be a couple dozen 42″ touch screen monitors that will have the names of the service members who gave their lives. A visitor will be able to select a name as they see it scroll along the screen, or search for a specific name. That will bring up a picture of the service member, information about them, and where they served. It will also bring up a map from top view and side view of the tree in relation to the screen with a point showing where the leaf that contains that person’s name is. Each leaf will give off a gentle green light from the LED until the leaf on the map of the screen is selected, then the green light will be replaced by a bright white light to show the place where that name is on the tree. It will stay illuminated for several seconds then dim to the gentle green again.
The idea is that no Federal funds will be spent to build this memorial. All funds will be raised privately through a Project on Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1489515819/tree-of-freedom-iraq-and-afghanistan-war-memorial or by clicking on the donation link on the Tree of Freedom Website http://treeoffreedom.org
The thought is that Service members and their families shouldn’t have to wait 30 – 40 years to see a memorial erected showing the support and love that the country has for the troops who have served, and ultimately given their lives, for the cause of Freedom.