The public is invited to join local veterans’ groups in attending the dedication of the Freedom Eagle in Liberty Pond at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 at Santa Fe College’s Northwest campus.
A program will be presented by the SF Collegiate Veterans Society, with President Jackson Sasser as guest speaker.
The dedication’s subject is a 300-pound bronze eagle statue that is being installed at the pond in front of the Bookstore (behind S Building). That area is to be renamed Liberty Pond as part of the ceremony.
The statue was sculpted in 1976 by Doug Corsini for the Gorham Silver Company. It was commissioned for the U.S. bicentennial and cast in the United States. At Santa Fe, it will be mounted on a 2-by-2-foot granite pillar to stand 6 feet tall, said John Gebhardt, coordinator of Veterans Affairs.
The student veterans were inspired by the addition of the new Fine Arts Hall to undertake a project of their own, Gebhardt said. After noticing the lack of sculptures on campus, they began a national search for a bronze eagle that was cast in this country and found one for a reasonable price in Tennessee, he said.
As part of the program, Corsini is scheduled to present an overview of how the eagle was sculpted and where it was cast. The eagle was funded in large part by the Alachua County Veterans Memorial Committee.
“It will have the word ‘freedom’ on the front of it,” Gebhardt said. “Because of what our service personnel and others do to defend our country, academic freedoms are assured.”
The sculpture will be dedicated in the memory of two former Santa Fe students; Jeffrey Wershow, who was killed in Iraq in 2003 while serving with the Florida Army National Guard, and John Parker, who served with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan and who was shot and killed in the Ocala National Forest in 2006.
“The public is encouraged to attend, and refreshments will be served,” Gebhardt said.
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