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Final Statements
A horizontal magnetized silver wall with many white porcelain stars affixed to it. Photo by Lui Gino de Grandis

Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers

Artist Karrie Hovey is likely alive today because her father was stationed in Korea, not Vietnam, during the 1960s. Most of his Army training unit went to Southeast Asia and returned in caskets, or never returned.

In part, this explains why Hovey, who is pursuing her M.F.A. in sculpture, created the public installation, "Diamonds in the Sky," a 24-foot-by-6-foot-long corrugated tin wall of 1,262 magnetized porcelain stars, each one representing an American casualty suffered in Iraq from March 2003 through October 2004.

The installation is a memorial, not a protest, Hovey says. "But I do hope that it serves as a reminder of the tragedy that is taking place in Iraq daily. Unlike with past wars, we at home are not rationing our daily needs. We are not recycling old fabric for bandages."

The three-inch stars, each painted with the name, age and date of death of an individual soldier, were unveiled on Veteran's Day in November at the San Francisco Civic Center.

In an effort to spread the message, Hovey asked passersby to remove the stars from the display, take them to other public locations and report their whereabouts on her Web site.

"Each of these stars represents a person who has touched and impacted the lives of many others," she says. "I want the stars to remind people that the individual person for whom the star was made has left many loved ones behind."

And their lives, she says, will forever be changed.

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Last modified February 18, 2005, by the Office of Public Affairs and Publications