The renovation from a tree stump into a sculpture of beauty and inspiration is symbolic of veterans’ transformations when they return from duty, Mullen said.
“It’s kind of like someone comes back, and they are kind of mangled from the war, either psychologically or physically, and then you help them and do something to really make them stand out and shine again,” he said. “It’s the same idea as the tree.
“The tree was almost a disaster, broken and gonna be ripped out, and all of a sudden, it’s wait a minute, let’s make it something,” he said. “We know the eagle was in the tree already, waiting. It’s there already.”
Mullen’s military service was life-changing, he said.
“My service changed my world view and impressed upon me how fortunate we are to be Americans,” he said. “I learned that war means sacrifice — very serious sacrifice. Many of my contemporaries who were deployed to Vietnam came home with physical and mental life-changing injuries. I think war always results in conflicted outcomes.”
Chandler Noyes, a veteran residing in Georgetown, expects to find special meaning in the memorial.
“It will serve as a reminder that my active duty helped to make a difference during the Korean War,” Noyes said.
Mullen and Drinan also plan to implant a time capsule within the sculpture. It will be scheduled for opening in 75 years. The capsule will include the names of all Georgetown veterans who perished in a war, as well as the names of donors who contribute to complete the sculpture.
The sculpture will live outdoors until rot begins to show in the base of the stump, Gordon said. It can then be safely removed from the roots and displayed forever in an inside location, perhaps Georgetown Town Hall. A resin mold could also be made of the sculpture to take the place of the original outdoors.