Sculpture left by widow at Vietnam Wall shows the tragic effects of war
Michael Ruane has quite a report in the Washington Post:
The sculpture was packed in bubble wrap inside a taped-up box and was wheeled on a dolly to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial one day last month by three people who looked to be in their 60s.
They asked Al Gallant, a volunteer guide, if it was okay to leave a memento. Sure, he said. They pushed the cart down the path to the Wall, took the sculpture from the box, and walked away. One of them paused to snap a picture as they departed.
What they had left was an unusual piece — “macabre,” Gallant called it. And, like many of the 400,000 items left at the Wall since 1982, it had a story.
The object was the painted bust of an American soldier, one side of the face depicting a smooth-skinned young serviceman, the other an aged, long-haired veteran with pocked features and a tearful, staring eye.
On one side, the top of the head was protected by an Army helmet. On the other, the helmet and skull were cut away to reveal the gray folds of the brain, etched with the names of battles and slogans from the war.
The dog tag on the sculpture bore the name, blood type and religion of Army Pvt. Leo C. Buckley Jr., a Vietnam veteran who died of cancer in 2009 at the age of 60 in Walterboro, S.C.
But the face was that of Samuel J. Elliott, 73, a church deacon who lives in Hendersonville, N.C. He is the artist who created the sculpture.
Both men served in the war. Both saw combat. Both suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Neither knew the other during the war.
It was Buckley’s widow who, with two friends, left the sculpture at the Wall, which bears the names of more than 58,000 men and women claimed by the war. She snapped the photo as she walked away.
“Clay” Buckley had been a paratrooper with the elite 173rd Airborne Brigade during the war, and . . .
Continue reading. Photos at the link.