The larger-than-life-sized statue of three servicemen that forms the last part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was installed at the monument yesterday to await formal dedication ceremonies on Nov. 11, during Veterans Day weekend.
Now under a protective cloth cover, the 3,000-pound metal statue depicts three Vietnam-era servicemen who seem to be looking sidelong toward the black granite wall on which are inscribed the names of 57,939 men and women who died in the war.
After an unveiling in a brief ceremony on Nov. 9, the statue will be dedicated at what is expected to be a major public ceremony at 2 p.m. Nov. 11, according to retired Air Force Col. Bob Carter, executive vice president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc.
On Nov. 11, Carter said, the memorial, which was built in Constitution Gardens, just north of the Reflecting Pool, by the fund and dedicated two years ago, will be turned over to the federal government as a national monument.
The statue, the work of Washington sculptor Frederick E. Hart, arrived here yesterday from the Plainview, N.Y., foundry where it was cast. It was installed on a rough-hewn black granite base near the flagpole at the monument's entrance plaza.
By their postures and expressions, according to Carter, the statue's three figures, standing about seven feet tall, create an interaction with the nearby V-shaped wall, which has become one of the city's most frequently visited monuments.
The figures of a white man, a black man and a man who appears to symbolize members of other minority groups who served during the war, look with anxious faces toward the wall covered with names and are "maybe seeing themselves," Carter said.
As many as 300,000 veterans are expected here during the weekend for the dedication ceremonies and a variety of other events honoring veterans.