Above and Beyond - The Vietnam War Memorial
National Veterans Art Museum
Assist with an art installation of Above and Beyond Vietnam War Memorial, commissioned by the National Veterans Art Museum, created by Rick Steinbock, and veteran artists Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli and Mike Helbing.
In 2000, TMCi was approached by a group in the process of creating a huge art installation. They needed a bunch of bent wire….stainless…a lot of stainless wire.
The wire was to attach to the ceiling in panels, consecutively, and attach to a replicated dog tag representing a person who was killed in action during the Vietnam War, arranged by date in order of death. Each dog tag would contain their name, casualty date and military branch.
The exact configuration for the bent wire was determined; next was the “how” to bend such a small diameter wire, consistently. Tom created 6 small hand benders and the work began. It quickly became a family affair, a neighborhood event, and the biggest, most meaningful project we have ever had the opportunity to be a part of. Tom shuttled batches of wire to Chicago for attachment to the dog tags as Rick and the other veterans stamped them out by hand on the Graphotype machine.
Two years, 58,307 pieces of wire and a matching 58,307 replicated dog tags, the installation opened on May 26, 2001. TMCi had the honor of being asked to the Grand Opening and it is a day our entire family will never forget, not to mention the incredible artwork on display by the veterans.
The memorial has a life, a somber song of its own when a breeze causes the tags to move. It is a sound you will not forget, which is all the more fitting for its purpose.
Above and Beyond is the only memorial other than The Wall in Washington, D.C. to list all those killed in action during the Vietnam War.