“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
Every year on November 11th, our nation—along with nations around the world—gathers together to honor those who have bravely served our country. We not only honor the fallen, but the 22 million veterans living in the United States today.
The origin of this important holiday lies in end of the First World War. In 1918 at the famous 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a ceasefire went into effect that put an end to global bloodshed. In commemoration, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day. In 1954, President Eisenhower expanded the national holiday to honor all veterans who have served our country.
Throughout the United States, many memorials commemorate these heroes. The public spaces serve as important reminders of their dedication and bravery. This Veterans Day, take a few minutes to check out some of the unique ways public artists have celebrated our nation’s heroes:
V is for Veterans honors all five of the United States Military Branches. Artist Stephanie Jaffe Werner recently sculpted this 10-foot “V” dressed in our nation’s flag for the outside of Miami Lakes Town Hall in Florida.
The National WWII Memorial opened in Washington, D.C. in 2004. Situated between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, it features a large plaza with a fountain, 56 granite pillars, base relief images and a Freedom Wall commemorating the over 40,000 Americans who died in the war. The Memorials celebrates both those that served abroad and at home.
Artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, More Art and the Union Square Partnership, presented a temporary installation in 2012 called Abraham Lincoln: The War Veteran Project. Stories told by real veterans were projected onto a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, bringing the warfront much closer to home.
The Gulf War Memorial is an online dedication to those who fought in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The virtual memorial presents a rubbing, as if from an engraved stonewall, of those who died in service.
The Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial in Huntsville, Alabama honors the heroes of their community with personalized brick pavers. Friends and family members are invited to purchase and engrave a brick that is then laid out in the beautiful plaza.