When retired Army Reserve Col. Mac Burdette thinks of typical war memorials, images of soldiers on horses, tombstones and tall obelisks come to mind.
Burdette and the Mount Pleasant War Memorial Study Committee strived to find something special to honor the known 74 Mount Pleasant residents who have died in combat from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. What they chose may be surprising: a grieving woman.
"There are more victims than just soldiers in war. There are victims back at home, quite often women of the house who are left to take care of family and have to be strong. Frankly, the best thing to do was let the statue be of a solitary woman clutching a flag to her chest," said Burdette, town administrator and member of the memorial study committee.
The statue features a seated grieving woman holding a trifolded American flag in her left hand. Her right arm rests on a World War II helmet propped up by an inverted rifle. This arrangement is commonly used in wars to mark graves. Her face reveals sadness and love, but also strength.
The timeless appearance of the woman and her dress shows that she could be anyone's mother, wife or daughter from any war, according to Raymond Kaskey, the sculptor.
"The base spirals upward to make a seat and was a form I was intrigued with for technical reasons. It is a symbol of hope, spiraling upwards," Kaskey said.
Kaskey is a nationally recognized sculptor known for such works as the World War II Memorial sculptures in the nation's capital, according to The Washington Post. He has a master's degree in architecture from Yale and first gained recognition for the sculpture "Portlandia" in Portland, Ore.
The committee commissioned Kaskey to make the sculpture after being impressed by his wealth of knowledge when he gave members of the panel a tour of various memorials in Washington, D.C.
The tranquil space in the park includes a three-tiered fountain and columns bearing the seals of the armed forces. It is engraved with four virtues: duty, honor, commitment and courage.
The statue will be unveiled at 6:30 p.m. today. The children of three Mount Pleasant fallen soldiers, Capt. Richard G. Cliff Jr., Maj. Edward J. Murphy and Sgt. Adam M. Wenger, will be honored at the ceremony.