WASHINGTON — This Veterans Day marked 100 years since the end of World War I.
There was a big reveal Sunday at National Harbor in honor of those, past and present, who have served in the U.S. armed forces: statues representing the five branches of the U.S. military— the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
“I feel very strongly that America must, each day, think how much they owe to the men and women who are in uniform—today, tomorrow, and the future,” said five-time Virginia U.S. Senator John Warner, who served during World War II and in Korea. “While we sleep, they’re protecting us. And this is a troubled world.”
Milt Peterson, principal and chairman of the Peterson Companies and National Harbor developer, said Warner was the driving force behind getting the statues created.
The lifelike pieces are now part of a collection of statues representing historic figures that line a stretch of road called American Way. Other figures include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Rosie the Riveter.
All five of the new military statues face the Potomac River and are positioned so that a National Harbor sign topped with an American flag serves as a photo backdrop.
Peterson says the statues were two years in the making, from idea to unveiling.
He also says painstaking care was taken to make sure the uniform details match real-life specifications—from hat sizes to name tapes.
Several coats of paint were used to cover the figures.
“It’s airplane paint. You’ve got 14 coats on it because it’s got to stand out here in the elements,” Peterson said.
The pieces were created by Brooklyn-based artist Ivan Schwartz [http://www.studioeis.com/about/ivan-schwartz/].
Warner says the reasons the statues are depicted as lifelike as possible are simple: “We made them life size and very realistic so that people could take a photograph with them and hang it up on the wall and—particularly the young people— aspire some day to wear that uniform.”
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