Statue for Warner Robins Vietnam veterans park tries to display survivor's guilt

Statues honoring Vietnam veterans await final spot in Warner Robins

Two bronze statues honoring Vietnam veterans are sitting in a garage in Byron waiting for their final resting place.

The statues cost thousands of dollars and have traveled thousands of miles to get to Central Georgia.

Currently, they sit under blankets and covers in Tom McLendon's garage.

One is called the Fallen Soldier’s Cross and the other is Survivor’s Guilt.  

McLendon says it took a lot of work to get them right.

“I wanted a sculpture like no other sculpture in this country. One that nobody else has got,” said McLendon. “For the last five and a half years we worked on this sculpture called Survivor's Guilt. There's been over 200 pictures taken, there's been email after email sent out.” 

The statue is a veteran sitting on a stump, holding dog tags of those lost and shedding a single tear.

McLendon says after interviewing and photographing other veterans, they wanted to capture the loneliness and emotion they felt from survivor's guilt. It’s something McLendon has experienced personally.

“It's worse at other times than what it is now. Knowing that what you saw, what you were around, and all that and you made it home and some of the guys you don't even know didn't, some you do know, didn't. I've got five classmates on the wall there in Mobile where I'm from,” McLendon said.

McLendon was a part of helicopter rescue operation in Vietnam from July 1968 to July 1969. He says he probably rescued 10-12 people. 

The statues’ designer, Richard Arnold, is also a Vietnam War veteran, according to McLendon.

The two statues will eventually sit at the city's Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, planned for a site off Russell Parkway and I-75, but the project has stalled. 

Councilman Tim Thomas says they're trying to work out who will provide water and sewer.

“That is the service area of Fort Valley, utilities, and we're trying to see can they get utilities there and if they cannot, what's our options? That's really what we're looking at, we love the location,” Thomas said.

The statues cost $78,000 and came here all the way from Utah in addition to being designed in Alabama and Colorado.

On Thursday, they’ll be moved to City Hall on Watson Boulevard temporarily, while the details on the final site are worked out.

Until then, the statues will wait while survivors remember their fallen brothers.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment