Brea War Memorial 1
Brea War Memorial 2

Brea War Memorial

Brea, CA | 2011

This is a proposal is for the Brea War Memorial:

The Concept

The centrally located black granite boulder with the names of the fallen is the focal point of the Memorial. In order to properly honor their memories, it is important that we, as participants in the Memorial be made aware of the experience of these veterans. I propose to do this by offering portions of letters sent home from active duty service members. These letters would be chosen for their portrayal of the experience of being in harm’s way for extended periods of time while in service to our country. It is this voice that comes from the person who was actually living the experience that brings power and meaning to the Memorial. There is no mediator or history book getting in the way. The letters should be universal, and personal.

These letters would be printed on stainless steel "tablets" bolted to five rusted steel plates 17 feet high.

The use of rusted steel plate is a conscious choice for me. Its warm color and visual texture is at the same time cold and hard; a curious mixture of antithetical qualities which brings additional depth of content to the Memorial.

Below are the "place holders." They are intended to illustrate my concept for the memorial. The numbers represent the monolith on which they will they be placed.

This continues day after day until one wonders
how much the human body can stand...
And yet it is my job, and I do it willingly,
There is something that keeps us fighting
past the time when we feel like quitting.
He's home safe-we're not.
In that distinction lies
the difference between
those who have luck,
and those who aren't yet
sure they have it.
You can see we don't get
many treats such as you sent.
After eating C-rations, the popcorn,
cake and candy were like gold.
The biggest hit was
The plastic Christmas tree.
No man can put his mind at ease
as to what he will do under fire,
till he’s actually under fire.
The ones who weren't on guard
could sleep if possible
but I can say that not a man
went to sleep that first night.