Bingham County unveils statue just in time for Memorial Day
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BLACKFOOT — Hundreds gathered on a rainy Friday for the unveiling of a 7-foot, bronze statue at Patriot Field in Blackfoot, just in time for memorial day. Bingham County native Ben Hammond sculpted the statue over the past two years.
“This project is probably one of the most special projects I have ever done,” Hammond said. “To do a statue that has a likeness of my grandfather and my son in it is a neat connection and just my personal feelings about the military. It was a labor of love and I was just excited to be part of it.”
Hammond’s grandfather was a veteran of World War II. The two were very close and Hammond said this was a way he could honor his lifelong legacy. He said honoring all veterans who have served and are currently serving makes his job as an artist very fulfilling.
“To have some of the veterans come up to me and put their arm around me with tears in their eyes meant a lot,” Hammond said. “If I’m reaching them and touching them, that’s special to me.”
Hammond said the design of the sculpture came, in part, through a joint effort with the County Commissioner. At first, the sculpture was going to be just a boy holding a folded flag and ultimately, it was decided to add the girl and the military officer presenting the flag to the somber children.
“It was my job to take the three figures, the idea and turn it into a piece of artwork,” Hammond said.
In attendance was Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Maj. Gen. Michael J. Garshak of the Idaho National Guard and many local veterans.
“It’s really important when we have events like this or Memorial day events at the cemetery or a Veterans day event, to take your kids and talk to them about it,” Little told EastIdahoNews.com. “It is important as fewer and fewer people are directly involved in the military that we educate our children about the sacrifices that have been made.”
The required $120,000 to build the statue all came from private donations. Bingham Healthcare donated the final $10,000 for the project.
The statue serves as an important reminder for everyone to ‘Never Forget’ those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” said Mark Bair, Bingham County commissioner in a news release. “I’m grateful to Bingham Healthcare, the Bingham Health Care Foundation, and all of the individual community members and businesses for funding the statue through your generous donations.”
The sculpture, which is titled “Legacy” can be found in the center of Patriot Field, the veteran’s memorial park. The park is located at 217 West Francis Street in Blackfoot.