Three Soldiers Sculpture To Be Dedicated In Florida
02 July 2008
Three Soldiers, Detail, a bronze sculpture created from the original molds used for the Three Servicemen Statue in Washington, D.C., will be dedicated at the Veterans Memorial Plaza in Apalachicola, Fla., on July 12.
Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, will be the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Scruggs was the driving force behind the effort to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. in the early 1980s. The Wall, as the Memorial is also known, was dedicated in 1982. The Three Servicemen Statue, which is part of the Memorial site, was created by sculptor Frederick Hart and dedicated in 1984. When the statue was dedicated, the entire Memorial was transferred to the federal government as a gift to the American people and accepted by then President Ronald Reagan.
“The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is pleased to be part of this effort,” said Scruggs. “When people look at the statue, whether it is the Three Servicemen Statue in our nation’s capitol or Three Soldiers, Detail in Apalachicola, they will remember the sacrifices made by all of our armed forces during the Vietnam War.”
Another featured speaker at the event will be Col. Harry Buzzett, one of Apalachicola’s favorite sons, whose Army career spanned World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The ceremony will also feature an exhibition of Vietnam-era “Huey” helicopters from Dothan, Alabama, a wreath laying at the new statue and a military honor guard. Members of local motorcycle clubs, including ABATE, American Legion Riders, AMVETS Riders, Christian Motorcyclists Association, Patriot Guard Riders, U.S. Military Vets Motorcycle Club and Vietnam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club are expected to attend as well.
Jimmy Mosconis, founder and president of Three Servicemen Statute South, Inc., will be the master of ceremonies. Mosconis was an Army staff sergeant who was in Vietnam in 1968-69 and served with Scruggs. The two returned to Vietnam last year to visit, among other places, Xuan Loc, where they were both wounded during the war.
“I am pleased with the enthusiastic support we’ve received from members of the community,” said Mosconis. “It is an honor to have the only replica of this famous statue in our town, and it is an honor we would not have received without the dedication of everyone here.”
In late June, the Three Soldiers, Detail began its trip from Long Island, N.Y., where it was cast, to Apalachicola, Fla., in a 28-foot trailer in which it was the only item being shipped. Shipping services were donated by FedEx National LTL, the long-haul transportation carrier of Fed Ex. For shipping, the statue was packed in three crates and secured with air bags and bracing to make sure this precious cargo got to its destination with no problems.
Three Servicemen Statue South is the non-profit group that spearheaded the effort to bring the statue to Florida. Under Mosconis’ leadership, the group obtained permission from the estate of sculptor Frederick Hart and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund more than seven years ago. Apalachicola is the only city in the United States to feature this detail of the Three Servicemen Statute. A “detail” refers to any partial reproduction of a work of sculpture.
Three Soldiers, Detail was created with the original molds used to make the Three Servicemen Statue. The sculpture will be set on a black granite pedestal, serving as the centerpiece of Apalachicola’s newly completed Veterans Memorial Plaza. This new city-owned park includes brick pavers that honor veterans from all branches of the military who served in all of America’s wars. Adding dedications to the pavers has been a way for Three Servicemen Statue South to raise money to bring the statue to Apalachicola, and opportunities are still available for those who want to dedicate a brick.
Both The Wall and the Three Servicemen Statue have become well-loved icons on the National Mall, serving as symbols of our nation’s honor and recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War. When he created the statute, sculptor Frederick Hart felt it spoke to the “true heroism that lies in the bonds of loyalty.” It is a visual reference for the ages of the courage and devotion to their country of all service members.
The public is invited to attend the dedication, which is Apalachicola’s home-grown tribute to the men and women who went off to war from the many towns throughout the southeastern United States. Once the dedication is complete, the new Veterans Memorial Plaza will be managed by the Florida State Park System and is expected to draw thousands of visitors annually.
Three Servicemen Statue South Inc. is still raising money to pay for the statue, site preparation and landscaping. To make a donation or dedicate a brick paver, visit Three Servicemen Statue South
.Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Today, the Memorial Fund is an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of The Wall, promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War. Its initiatives include educational programs for students and educators, a traveling Wall replica that honors our nation’s veterans and a humanitarian and mine-action program in Vietnam. The Memorial Fund is also building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, an underground educational facility, near The Wall.
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