1. Kirsten Miller

    I feel that the building of this statue clearly demonstrates a shift in the attitude of Americans toward those who serve our country.

    When the United States became involved in the World Wars, a surge of nationalism was felt. Men were sent off to defend our country and the women rallied behind them at home taking up jobs in the war industries. When the men returned home, it was a time of celebration and victory.

    A short decade after World War II ended, Vietnam began, accompanied by a huge change in sentiment toward the men who served our country. Soldiers did not return home to cheering crowds or celebratory occasions, but rather mobs of people chanting “baby killers,” people protesting the war and showing blatant disrespect for the men who faced combat.

    Yet a stark contrast of this appears in Long Beach twelve years later. In 1987, we once again recognize the need to and importance of honoring those who fought for our country. I understand that this statue represents a sailor in World War II, not a soldier in Vietnam; however, I see the act of constructing this bronze sculpture as a symbol of a change in the American sentiment toward those who fight for us.

  2. Ryan Florence

    Firstly, without addressing any of the sentiment behind the sculpture, I find it extremely beautiful and how they sculptor was able to achieve such detail amazes me. The Lone Sailor displays such a solemn air it’s almost eerie. The fact that it faces the open ocean gives an even more solemn air to it. It’s as if the sculpture itself is mourning the loss of his brothers in arms and hoping for their return. It’s a beautiful memorialization of our troops. I can’t help but contemplate the seriousness of war and the affects it has on the men and women, as well as their families, that have served for our country. The Lone Sailor does an excellent job at providing a sentimental tone and conveying a very palpable message of loss and service.

    • Elvin Mabborang

      I totally get that vibe when I look at this statue — very stoic, contemplative, almost like a thousand-yard stare sort of thing going on. I think the expression on the statue’s face says it all: I would describe it as melancholy and regretful. Furthering this, war is a destructive and evil aspect of our lives that we have all just come to accept, and I feel like the subject’s face does an excellent job of conveying this. I find it interesting that the artist felt that one sailor was enough; true, it would be easier to just craft one figure (an excellent one at that), but at the same time, I personally feel like seeing just one sailor largely conveys that sad, melancholy vibe, making me see the piece as a memorial (which was most likely the intention). But at the same time, I feel like a piece depicting multiple sailors would’ve conveyed a completely different vibe; it would conjure up feelings and ideas of camaraderie, strength in numbers, and brotherhood, all of which are ideals of the armed forces. Ultimately, I feel that it would convey more of a celebration of these sacrificed lives rather than a somber memorial service. Just my opinion!

    • Bri Maloney

      Something that I found really interesting when researching this statue was that the face of this statue was actually based off of a person. The artist used the face of Rear Admiral William Thompson, a WW2 vet and the first president and CEO of the Navy Memorial Foundation. He also modeled the body after Petty Officer First Class Dan Maloney.

      I think the fact that it was modeled after real people who fought in the war makes it all the more sobering. However, there are statues and memorials all over the country with one person and multiple people in them, and each in their own way are uniquely patriotic and somber. I think the sense of patriotism and celebration of brotherhood is strong in both cases: either one man standing alone in remembrance of the people he fought with, or as an ensemble who have to stand together and heal after the trauma they went through together. I think the fact that we can take the time to honor those who fought and also realize that they made a sacrifice in fighting is what matters most.

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