Leadership: June 10, 2004

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While the French government and people may despise the United States' current operations to liberate Iraq, some among them have gone to great lengths to honor the sacrifices of  World War II era U.S. servicemen  who liberated France. Born in the '60s, French sculpture Anilore Banon began thinking about creating a work celebrating the ideal of courage shortly after the events of 9/11. She had visited the site of the D-Day landings in Normandy and the experience had stayed with her. Dedicated this week, "The Brave" arises out of the surf of Omaha Beach and stands tribute to the many who came ashore that day to liberate France and Europe.

Banon designed her work during the height of tensions between France and the United States over Iraq. She needed around $840,000 to build it, but French corporate sponsors were reluctant to supply the money. She feared she would have to abandon the project until the young heir of the Air Liquide company came forth, saying "The project has to exist." he said, and put up the required money. Construction started in Cherbourg with 25 workers fabricating massive steel columns. As the work neared completion, a factory strike had been scheduled. However, the workers decided "For the sculpture, we are not on strike" and it was finished on time for installation by the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Doug Mohney

 


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