Robert Carter Photography
Taken in passing in the low light of a Washington, D.C., subway. We don't know what his eyes have seen . . .
"The Three Soldiers" is a lesser known portion on display at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. The bronze statue by Frederick Hart was unveiled on Veterans Day in 1984 on the National Mall as part of the Memorial. It is designed to show a bit of the diversity of the U.S. Military with Caucasian, African American, and Latino American soldiers. The service branch is intentionally ambiguous. It was not part of the original design of the Vietnam Memorial. But the Wall with its V-shape and gray color reminded some of a grave and shame, lacking the emotion of patriotism and heroism displayed by the fighters. The addition of a flag and the statue was suggested to reconcile the disagreement in the chosen design. The designer of the Wall, Maya Lin, protested the addition of this statue (and the Vietnam Women's Memorial) saying they were an infringement of her artistic expression and that the sculpture would "make one feel watched." This disagreement led to the statue being placed in a disconnected setting, but the soldiers look in the direction of the Wall. While the Wall focuses on those who died, "The Three Soldiers" pays tribute to those who returned.