Sculpture Entrustment Ceremony held on Nov. 12, 2014
Bright and blustery was the day on which Mardie Rees’ sculpture Soul of the Forward and Faithful was formally and ceremoniously entrusted to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va. The sparkling sunlight warmed the travertine walls of the rotunda as attendees filtered through the broad entrance way of the distinguished museum. The journey for the memorial bronze sculpture had been long, having had visits to the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington, the 2014 U.S. Marine Raider Reunion, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum before travelling cross-country for its official induction at the NMMC.
The charismatic Col. Giles Kyser (ret.) emceed the event, keeping the air light but reverent as he called for the posting of the colors and led guests in the singing of the national anthem. Museum director Lin Ezell was the first to address the crowd. She spoke of the museum’s plans for future expansion and its eventual doubling in size, and made clear that Rees’ memorial to the marines of WWII, generously donated by the U.S. Marine Raider Foundation, would be cared for in perpetuity as a permanent part of the exhibits in the collection of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Keynote speaker Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman then stepped up and explained the role of today’s marines, and how a proclamation by Commandant James Amos this past summer made only more poignant the connection to the original WWII Raiders and their legacy that resounds in heart of the Corps.
Sculptor Mardie Rees then delivered a rousing and inspiring speech highlighting her vision in completing the sculpture. She spoke of those that she met during the project, WWII veterans who shared stories, collectors who assisted in the accuracy of the gear depicted in the piece, and countless marines, some highly decorated, and all honorable and respectable men. Upon the unveiling of Soul and the Forward and Faithful, Charles Meacham Sr., an original WWII Raider and the man whose vision was realized that day, related several war stories and the camaraderie he experienced as a marine. When asked what the sculpture meant to him, he summed it up in the two words that speak volumes about the sculpture’s emotive feeling and the very marines that it honors, “Semper Fidelis” – always faithful.
photos by renoufphotography.com