It has been a restless night. I have watched 2:00am come and go. I look at the ceiling as it hits 3:00, then 4, and five.
I am uneasy, unsettled, there is a feeling of something haunting me, pulling at me. In the back of my mind something is not right. No, something is missing. I have started to sculpt the Patriot Woman for the ORWM, but it doesn’t feel right.
Something important is missing.
Then it hits me. Like the proverbial ton of bricks. That aha moment.The Memorial is not complete.
The Memorial is missing its true purpose, its true reason to exist. It talks a good talk, but it falls short on delivering its promise. And now I know what it has been missing from the very start.
From its first inception I have spent many hours walking through the Memorial in my mind. As I walked, I added walls, deleted them, moved them around to form a path to follow. I could see the story begin to evolve. From the very first rallying cry of the Join or Die symbol on the floor, I walk over the stars placed in the concrete and around the thirteen benches. I see the changes of thirteen separate colonies becoming states and uniting into one country.
I touch the cool red stone walls and feel and see the timeline of this young experiment, this young democracy this young Republic. I read the words engraved in the stone about the struggles of the people as England tries everything they can to tax them and punish them for their upstart ways. I see how the people rise up time after time, year after year fighting for their right to Freedom. I can see the blood, hear the noises of the battles and feel the resolve as I look into the eyes of the life size bronze sculptures.
The names inscribed along the bottom of the walls are more than just names, just Patriots, they are our fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh great grandparents, our people, our family. Because of them and what they endured we exist, and this country exists.
I reach the end of my journey, the raised dais and see and
hear the flags waving in the breeze, my eyes fall to the last words inscribed
on the wall.
E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.
In my walk through the Memorial I have traveled through time
and have witnessed the birth of our Nation. But I am not satisfied. Half
filled, or half empty depending on how you look at it.
The Memorial is alive but it is missing its heart, its soul, its humanity, its HOPE for the future. I can read it, but I cannot feel it.
It is the sculptures. The hope is missing there.
The Woman Patriot is not right. Like the other sculptures she is alone on the end of a wall. The bronze plaque tells her story, the story of the struggle of those who stood up for what they believed in. But it lacks the “WHY”. The hope for a better life, for a better future for those to come.
So today, after four years since I first put pencil to paper in the design of this ORWM, it will be complete. The family, the child, the future, the promise of hope. The reason for all of this.
The problem of course is I need the image to stop people and have them wonder why she is on the Memorial. To be curious long enough to stop and read the plaque that talks about her contributions and importance in the Revolution. The single figure does that.
If I add a child, say a babe in her arms, will people walk past her because she now is the stereotype woman of the period, dutiful wife staying at home having kids. No interest there.
How about keeping the same stance, but adding a toddler at her feet? Better, but no. An older child maybe age 5 or 6 in front, half hidden, standing in the folds of her dress? No, too prominent, the child is what you see first and I don’t like just two figures in the design. How about two kids in the background peeking out from behind her, like she is protecting them? Better. I like the three figures forming a triangle. More powerful, stable, and just think of all the symbology people will read into it.
I like it, it works, especially if the first thing you see is the single woman figure and it stops you and as you look closer, you can see there are kids hiding behind her. She retains her stopping power, her character, her personality but another layer has been added to her. That of “she wolf”, the protector, the mother you do not want to mess with.
This panel if it works, is the heart and hope of the Memorial.
Now to my sketchbook to make it work. Can I pull it off?
I sent this post to a friend and fellow Compatriot and asked his thoughts.His response ... What
if you had her holding a book in her right hand a a symbolic reference to Mercy
Otis Warren? — and a way of showing that the Revolution was also one of ideas.
Remember what John
Adams said: “The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and it was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.”
So, I added a book. Made sense to me.
Say hello to the new Woman Patriot.