Monument in Arlington’s Visitors Center gets a fresh look
7/25/2012 12:00:00 AM
Minor upkeep is underway on the sculpture located in Arlington National Cemetery’s Visitors Center.
“The Price of Freedom” monument, which was sculpted over an eight year period from 2002-2010, is a 12-foot high, 1,800 pound bronze sculpture that stands in the center of the building.

The work includes cleaning, repatinating, and gold leafing some of the sculpture’s “relief” features and gilding the raised lettering on the plaques at the base of the sculpture. The work will be complete July 26.

“The process includes gold leafing specific areas of the sculpture with a specialized adhesive and then using a soft artist’s brush to bannish off the excess gold so that the area is brighter, but still subdued,” said Greg Wyatt, the monument’s sculptor.

The sculpture was unveiled in a ceremony in the Visitors Center on Memorial Day in 2010, while a smaller prototype-version of the sculpture has been in the Memorial Amphitheater’s display room since 2002. The sculpture includes a guardian angel holding a dying unknown soldier, a globe, and seven bronze figures at the top: five men in uniform representing the armed forces during World War II, a woman representing the nurse corps during World War II and a woman representing Rosie the Riveter. Twenty plaques adorn the bottom of the sculpture.

“The plaques list what many historians consider to the 20 most decisive battles during World War II – 10 from the western theater and 10 from the eastern,” said Wyatt.

Wyatt, the sculptor-in-residence for the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, has a number of other sculptures in the Washington, D.C. area: an 18-foot wingspaned “Soaring American Eagle” sculpture sits in the north courtyard of the State Department building, eight Shakespearean sculptures are located in the Elizabethan Garden of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and four sculptures are permanently placed at the Georgetown University Medical Center.