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Tennessee World War II Memorial

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It’s Memorial Day, and so it’s a good day to look at one of the more striking war memorials in Nashville, the Tennessee World War II Memorial found on the grounds of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Like the rest of the park, it was built to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the 1796 founding of Tennessee, though it was not finished and dedicated until November 11, 1997 (Veteran’s Day). The primary feature, which children (and adults!) love playing with is the eight-ton carved stone globe, which rests on a cushion of flowing water and can be easily pushed into different angles, though it rotates on its own due to the flowing water. In front of the globe is a stone platform littered with stars honoring the 5,731 Tennesseans who died in WW2. Ten pillars, five on each side, line the east and west of the platform. Reflecting the direction one travels to get to Europe or Asia from Tennesee, the ones to the east depict moments from the war in Europe, while those on the west depict moments from the war in the Pacific. To the south is a long bench with the names of seven Tennesee recipients of the Medal of Honor. A time capsule lays buried in front of that bench.

Many minds and hands went into designing and building this monument. General Enoch Stephenson led a committee of veterans, originally appointed by Governor Ned McWherter, which oversaw design and construction. The memorial was designed by Tuck-Hinton Architects, Ross/Fowler,  and EMC Structural Engineers. The memorial was built by Hardaway Construction. (Many thanks to the American Legion who gathered much of this information.)

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Located at 600 James Robertson Parkway (which is the address of the park). The memorial specifically is found on the north-west side of the park, along the 1000 block of Seventh Avenue North, and is about a block and half south of the 600 block of Jefferson Street. It lies across the street from the future home of the Tennesse State Museum, currently under construction. There is free parking in the park. This is a memorial, so please be respectful.

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Always on duty

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I don’t know of any labor specific art in Nashville, but firefighters certainly work hard, so this Labor Day I’m posting about the Firefighters Memorial next to the Schermerhorn Center. The first volunteer firefighter department in Nashville was founded in May 1807, and 200 years later, in November 2007, the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 140 unveiled this memorial which it had sponsored. The piece is signed by RC (“Bobby”) Hunt and Richard Thompson. IAFF 140’s video of the unveiling only mentions Hunt, so he was presumably the principal artist. Both men are listed as artists at Schaefer Art Bronze in Arlington, Texas. Hunt has since passed away. His artist’s website remains up, and the gallery includes this memorial. The memorial may seem to be in an odd spot, but it is the original site of Nashville Fire Station Numer 9, now found a few blocks south.

UPDATE: Of course there’s labor specific art in Nashville. And that’s a post that I’ll update soon, as the art in question has received a very nice refurbishing.

Located at 1 Symphony Place. The memorial itself is on the north east side of the center, on the 100 block of Third Avenue South, in a small alcove just a little south of where the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge connects with Third. This is downtown, so there is lots of parking, none of it free. Most days, the parking across the river on the other side of the pedestrian bridge is free. Make it part of your Lower Broad crawl, your night at the symphony, or your stroll along the river.

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Memorial Day

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As it is Memorial Day, it’s a good time to present art honoring the fallen. The United States Colored Troops Monument (2006) by Roy Butler sits on a low hill in the Nashville National Cemetary. The cemetery was founded in 1866 to bury Union dead, though it has long been open to veterans of all conflicts. Some two thousand African American troops from the Civil War era are included in the burials here. The idea to build the USCT monument in part came from two African American veterans and USCT reenactors, William Radcliffe and Norman Hill. Hill at the time was head of the Tennessee Historical Commission, which became one of the major donors to the project. Also involved were the United Association for Black Veterans and Creative Artists of Tennesee. Butler used Radcliffe as the model, wearing his reenactment gear. You can learn more and see a video about the statue here.  This monument is one of only sixteen in the country dedicated to the USCT and only one of two found in a national cemetery.

Located at 1420 Gallatin Road South. To find the statue, go under the railroad bridge in the middle of the cemetery and then look to the left. The statue is central to the southern part of this half of the cemetery. There are only a handful of proper parking spaces, but it is easy to park along the roads in the cemetery. Please be respectful.

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Betor Forever

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Several weeks ago, a major installation appeared on the 2600 block of Gallatin, on the Penny Recycling building. It’s one of the larger murals in town (though smaller certainly than the giant ones downtown.) I haven’t been able to get to it before because of cars parked at the Hairworld next door. Over a portrait of a young man in a hat surrounded by flowers and spray paint cans, the mural declares “Betor Forever.” Betor was the nom de plume of Ronald “Ronnie” Bobal, who died last December, a couple of weeks shy of his thirtieth birthday. Bobal was a prolific graffiti artist who worked with the UH and ICR crews. You can see some of his work and tributes to him herehere and here. The mural itself is signed by Sterbo and Tierdo.  Sterbo has also memorialized Bobal in the mural of colored spheres mentioned in Arctic colors. There are some other, smaller pieces at this site. I’ve included them in the gallery below.

Located at 2611 Gallatin Pike on the south side of the Pocket Money Recycling building, near the corner of Carolyn Avenue. Your best bet for parking is the Hairworld next door. All the images are on the south side of the building, though the camera is on the back of some construction debris so it may not be very permanent.

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