The design complements the architecture for continuity. Two serpentine walls fill the site forming an open ellipse. The walls graduate in height toward the center. At these highest points the silhouette of figures crest the wall drawing attention to the center area where the plaques honoring veterans are discovered next to five saluting figures. The shape of the walls creates an intimate, protected space for individuals or small groups to gather and pay tribute with quiet contemplation.
Emerging from the inner curve are five figures, each rising stoically in the line, bringing solidity and strength to the wall. Employing the figure as a stylized architectural element allows it to have universal appeal and convey strong emotion without extraneous detail.
The figures stand shoulder to shoulder, saluting each other to demonstrate the strength and camaraderie of all Veterans of the Armed Forces. Each branch is defined through the uniquely sculpted hat, depicting the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. We wish to work with the committee to best select the most distinctive hat for each branch so that it is an immediate and relatable image. A simple distinguishing insignia or patch may be included for further clarity. To the right of the figures are plaques engraved with the names of the Veteran's honored by the OrthoIndy Foundation.
The choice of materials has structural purpose, as well as symbolic significance, to emphasize the overall message of honoring Veteran’s services and the YMCA’s mission to help soldiers adjust to re-entering civilian life. This mission is emphasized in the change in material within the figure, from cast aluminum to modeled stucco symbolizing a veteran’s transition from service to civilian life while acknowledging that the uniform will indefinitely be a part of their life.
Aluminum has been a significant metal utilized within the military since WWII when the use of America’s supply of bauxite for metal production soared for aircraft frames, ship infrastructure, radar chaff and millions of mess kits. The saluting arm side of the uniform and head will be cast in aluminum. The rest of the figure emerges from an earthy material (sand being the primary makeup of stucco) to show that all service men and women are connected to the soil they protect.