Restoration Complete for Vietnam War Memorial Statue
(July 12, 2010)
|WASHINGTON, July 8, 2010 – The newly refurbished Three
Servicemen Statue at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was
unveiled today after six weeks of restoration.|
“This is a very noteworthy event,” said Jan Scruggs, founder
and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. “It's
very noteworthy for the history of the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial, [and] it's really a notable event for our nation's
Mall and the maintenance and preservation of our nation's
The statue was created by sculptor Frederick Hart.
Nearly 26 years after its original unveiling in 1984,
weather damage and age had taken a toll on the statue. Parts
of the uniforms, weapons, hands and noses of the statue
sustained some corrosion and deterioration.
Left to right: Retired Army
Brig. Gen. George Price; John Piltzecker,
National Mall and Memorial Parks superintendent;
Lindy Hart, widow of sculptor Frederick Hart;
and Jan Scruggs, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
founder and president, unveil the Three
Servicemen Statue during a rededication ceremony
at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., July
8, 2010. The statue, which originally was
unveiled in 1984, underwent six weeks of
restoration to repair damage and restore the
The restoration was done in place, and it
repaired oxidation damage and added a new patina
coating and wax. During restoration, the statue
was protected by a wooden enclosure with three
seven-foot-tall windows that allowed tourists to
“Almost 26 years later, we're here to rededicate
the statue and pledge our continued care,” said
Scruggs, a Vietnam War veteran.
The statue sits on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
site here, about 200 feet away from and facing
the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. The statue
depicts three servicemembers – one Hispanic, one
black and one white - and represents the more
than 58,000 fallen servicemembers memorialized
on the wall, Scruggs said.
“There's a sense of artistic and dynamic tension as the servicemen gaze at the
sea of names on the wall,” Scruggs said. “Over the years, people have noted that
it seems almost as if the servicemen are looking to see if their own names or
the names of their friends are on the wall.”|
Hart's widow, Lindy, was recognized at the ceremony for her husband's work. Hart
was the only person “who had the extraordinary talent we were looking for and
who would design the statue in such a way as to complement the memorial,”
Hart often is referred to in the artistic community as America's Michelangelo,
Scruggs said, noting his other famous work, the Creation sculptures on the west
fa�ade of the Washington National Cathedral.
“It is really not an exaggeration to refer to him in that manner,” Scruggs said.
“He was really that good, ... as good as any of the masters in sculpture
throughout the history of the world.”
A portrait of the original Three Servicemen Statue, its models and creator, Frederick Hart, second from left, is on view during a rededication ceremony for the statue at Lincoln Circle near the National Mall in Washington, D.C., July 8, 2010. The statue, created in 1984, underwent six weeks of restoration work to remove damage and restore the original patina.
One of Hart's models for the Three Servicemen Statue, William Smith, 50, of
Virginia, was present and recognized at the ceremony.
Smith's likeness was captured in the Cuban-American servicemember on the right
side of the statue, carrying a .60-caliber machine gun over his shoulder. Smith
was the only model who didn't serve in the military. The other two were members
of the Marine Corps Honor Guard and, at the time, were stationed at Henderson
Hall Marine Barracks in Arlington, Va.
Although Smith never served, he said, he's honored that his likeness helps to
represent “some of the greatest Americans to ever serve.”
“It's amazing to just be a part of this,” Smith said. “Being a part of this just
fills my soul. It makes me a much better American and gives my pride in my
Retired Army Brig. Gen. George Price, an advocate for the statue's creation in
the early 1980s, and John Piltzecker, National Mall and Memorial Parks
superintendent, also attended the ceremony.|
“The National Park Service is certainly pleased that the Three Servicemen Statue
has been restored to reflect the artist's intent,” Piltzecker said. “We will
continue to work with our partner, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, to
maintain the statue for all to enjoy.”
The restoration project cost about $25,000. The funds were raised by a National
Park Service share grant and an in-home fundraiser by Lindy Hart. Individual
contributions also were made. New Arts Foundry of Baltimore did the restoration
The project is part of a maintenance and restoration program by the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial Fund to assist the National Park Service in site upkeep.
Army SFC Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
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