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A Soldier’s Journey, and the Journey of Fame, Part 1: The Beginning

By Traci L. Slatton
via the Huffington Post web site

In January, 2016, my husband Sabin Howard and his design partner architect-in-training Joe Weishaar won the competition to design and build the National World War I Memorial. The Memorial is slated to stand in Pershing Park, located between the Mall and the White House.

Thus began a wild ride for my husband and our family.

5a57c8ce1e0000d800c96d3aSabin Howard (left) in the studio  Sabin began the journey with a great deal of cachet in the art world. His skills as a draughtsman and as a sculptor are extraordinary, of a level not seen in a hundred years. But it isn’t just that he can draw and sculpt. He has a talent stack that includes business acumen, an aesthetic sense, charisma, and public speaking. He taught for over a decade; the experience in front of a classroom gave him a flair for showmanship and understandability as a public speaker. He’s also very good looking. (Granted, I’m biased because he’s my husband.) The point is, Sabin can command a room.

When he and Joe won the competition, Sabin already had hundreds more friend requests on FaceBook than FaceBook allows. Although I’m not a fan of this overly-powerful social media platform and I believe that, like Ma Bell in the eighties, it’s a monopoly that should be broken up, FaceBook serves as a metric for something. Popularity, seemingly.

Sabin’s work had also already been reviewed in The New York Times: “Sabin Howard, a sculptor of immense talent, has created some of the most substantive realistic sculpture of the last decade.” (April 28, 2002). He had received numerous other accolades in print, in publications like Fine Art Connoisseur, American Arts Quarterly, and The New Criterion.

He was on the map as an artist of note—and his name on the map had a star beside it.

Winning the Memorial Competition catapulted him to a new level of visibility. This memorial is privately funded, and the World War I Memorial Commission works hard to raise the funds to build the Memorial.

I come from a military family and I am passionately devoted to the cause of commemorating veterans and what they’ve done for our country. Creating a memorial of a global, paradigm-changing war that is largely forgotten in our country strikes a chord with me.

People like me, families like my family of origin, men like my dad, made sacrifices. They fought and died and grieved. They returned from World War I profoundly changed. They’d been gassed and blinded; their feet had rotted in the muddy trenches. Many men were shattered beyond repair, even with victory. Sometimes husbands and fathers and sons didn’t return home at all, but simply vanished, their bodies never found.

There is a personal human cost to a war; even 100 years later, that cost deserves to be honored.

Read the entire article on the Huffington Post web site:

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