Sculptor Ron Petitt has been commissioned to create a veterans memorial that will honor all veterans of all generations. The unique copyrighted design will incorporate a 6' black granite star topped with a black granite column with five one-half life size bronze sculptures that represent both male and female members of the different branches of service in their dress uniforms. Located above each figure will be a bronze plaque with the service emblem for each branch of service.
The Veterans Memorial project is being sponsored by The Southeast Texas Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 292,
with support from the Jefferson County Commissioners Court and the Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center.
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On Veterans Day 2007, a press conference was held at The Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitor Center to unveil the model design for the Veterans Memorial. The above photo shows artist Ron Petitt and Jefferson County Precinct 4 Commissioner "Bo" Alfred (bottom row, second from left) posing with veterans and members of VVA Chapter 292.
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VVA Chapter 292 President Kerwin Stone, artist Ron Petitt and AVVA Chapter Rep. Sandra Womack with the maquette of the Veterans Memorial.
When completed, the Veterans Memorial will be located outside the Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitor Center at 5055 IH-10 South.
Pictured above is a composite photo of how the Veterans Memorial might look when completed. Their will also be shrubs placed around the base of the memorial and a bronze dedication plaque.
Coming up with a truly original design to honor all military veterans is no small task. When the members of
The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 292 started discussing the idea, they wanted something special not only in design, but also what the memorial would represent.
Their idea for a memorial was made even more difficult in that it would not only represent all the branches of service, but each of the 1/2 life size bronze figures that adorned the black granite platform, would represent different eras of military service without being specific to a particular rank or military unit.
In other words, the memorial will be designed and dedicated to all those that served in the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. The design is not so much about the uniforms , but more about those that proudly wore them.
The black granite star represents the State of Texas, while the five-sided pentagon shaped column represents the military command center of the US armed forces. Standing at attention on each of the five sides are bronze figures representing each of the branches of service with a bronze service medallion mounted above each figure.
Inscriptions on the black granite star will read, "In honor of all veterans" and "Never again will one generation of Veterans abandon another"
A scale drawing of the concept design.
A scale model of the Veterans Memorial.
Artist Ron Petitt puts the finishing details on one of the one-half life size sculptures.
The completed clay sculpture is prepared for the mold making process.
The clay sculpture is coated with a special silicone based mold rubber.
After the silicone mold is dried, several layers of a fiberglass reinforced mold plaster is applied.
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After the plaster mold is dry, the clay sculpture is removed from the rubber mold, and a special wax is poured in to form a wax replica of the original clay sculpture
The massive black granite star and pentagon shaped column have been cut and shipped. It took a little over 7 months to find pieces of granite that met the requirements for the Veterans Memorial. The photos show the granite being cut and all of the stones surface will be polished.
Designing The Veterans Memorial
The Black Granite Pedestal
The granite star and pedestal will be installed on site after a specially designed concrete pad and support column are constructed. The five half-life bronze sculptures and service medallions will be installed after the granite is installed on site.
The wax replica is cleaned and defects are corrected before it is cut into smaller sections. The individual wax sections are then repeatedly dipped in a special mixture that is allowed to harden and forms a coating that turns to ceramic when it is fired in a special oven. The wax flows out leaving a hollow shell for the molten bronze to be poured into.
The hard ceramic shell is then removed, leaving the cast bronze section which is checked for defects and imperfections in the metal.
The artist works together with the welder and metal chaser in correcting
and recreating the metal sculpture's original detail. It is a long and careful process of welding, grinding, polishing and then re-checking.
The foundry process can take months, depending on the size and detail of the bronze sculptures. Each individual piece is examined and re-examined to eliminate any defects that take away from the quality of the work. Living close to the foundry gives sculptor Ron Petitt the added advantage of being able to work closely with the foundry employees in ensuring that all his sculptures are finished to the highest standards.
This bronze figure is nearing completion and shown as it looks after much of the welding and detail work has been completed. Between each step the bronze sculptures are lightly sandblasted (as pictured above) to provide a clean surface to examine again. Once all work is completed and the sculptures are given the artist's final approval, they will be prepared for the chemical patina that will give each sculpture it's finishing touch. Each of the five figures for the Veterans Memorial go through this same process.
*Note; these photos show the bronze figures with a sandblasted metal surface. The final patina will be added when completed.
A glimpse of a completed Veterans Memorial bronze sculpture
The US Marine Corps bronze plaque that will be mounted above the US Marine bronze sculpture.
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Pictured above is a close-up of the completed half-life size US Marine bronze sculpture with patina applied.
The Making of The Veterans Memorial
All concept plans, design and associated imagery including the star, pentagon, bronze figures on the Veterans Memorial are the copyrighted works of the Sculptor, Ron Petitt. Any use of the imagery or copying the design and intent of this memorial will be considered a violation of Federal Copyright Law.
Photo by La Rue Rougeau
DEDICATED NOVEMBER 11 2009
Scroll down for additional photos and information about how the Veterans Memorial was created.