Dover Air Force Base officials unveiled a donated sculpture today—one they hope will provide an ounce of comfort to grieving families.
Alongside the base’s Center for Families of the Fallen, the sculpture, named “The Angel and the Dying Unknown,” is located at the center of the facility’s meditation garden.
“The bronze [sculpture] depicts a loving guardian angel holding and protecting a wounded universal soldier. This is the sculpture’s central meaning expressed in the language of art and sculpture,” New York-based sculptor Grey Wyatt said.
The work of art is valued at $40,000 and was donated by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, an organization that focuses on preserving and displaying art.
“We find that in their time of need, there are certain things that are comforting. And one of those, for people that are religious or spiritual, is the image of an angel. And this, we hope, will provide an opportunity for them to reflect a little bit and also provide an opportunity to draw out some of the feelings that they’re experiencing,” said 436th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Rick Moore.
“Families come here on the worst day of their life,” said Col. John Devillier, commander of Air Force Mortuary Affairs. “What they will remember is how we made them feel when they came to Dover Air Force Base, and this beautiful statue will help do that. It will help make these families feel welcomed on the worst day of their life.”
The Center for Families of the Fallen was built to create a quiet, home-like place where families can wait for their loved ones’ remains. The center is part of a larger campus that also includes a chapel, a memorial garden and housing.
Since its opening in January 2010, Col. Moore said 2,400 family members have witnessed the dignified transfers of fallen service members.