The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Three Soldiers, Washington, D.C.
“I see the wall as a kind of ocean, a sea of sacrifice that is overwhelming and nearly incomprehensible in its sweep of names. I place these figures upon the shore of that sea, gazing upon it, standing vigil before it, reflecting the human face of it, the human heart.”
– FREDERICK HART
In 1982 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund commissioned Frederick Hart to create a representational sculpture to complete the monument. The historic work in bronze was dedicated by President Reagan in November, 1984.
Hart chose to burrow into realistic details for a larger truth. He wanted to convey, from boonie hat to bootlaces, exactly what it was like for American soldiers to be tenuously alive in a particular place at a particular time.
“I have from the start,” stated Hart, “conceived the work of sculpture with three goals in mind: first, to preserve and enhance the elegant simplicity and austerity of the design by Maya Ying Lin; second, to create a work which interacts with the wall to form a unified totality; and finally to create a sculpture which is in itself a moving evocation of the experience and service of the Vietnam veteran.”