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  A Tribute to the USMA Class of 1968


"Bond Of Brothers"
West Point, USMA Class of 1968
Image Size 15" x 22"
Release Date: October 1998
PUBLIC Edition size 330: 70 A/P: 25 P/P
CLASS of 1968 Edition size: 708

Price: PUBLIC Edition of 330: $175.00 each, Unframed plus $10.00 Flat Shipping.

Price: PUBLIC Edition of 330: $450.00 each, Handsomely and Professionally Framed plus $50.00 Shipping.

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A Tribute To The United States Military Academy, Class Of 1968

“This story shall the good man teach his son; ….From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother…..”

William Shakespeare
Henry V

“We cannot live in associations with the past alone… if we would be worthy of the past, we must find new fields for action or thought, and make for ourselves new careers. But nevertheless, the generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience….We have shared the incommunicable experience of war.
We have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top. In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes
Memorial Day, 1884

Honored to be commissioned by the USMA Class of 1968 to create their 30-year reunion commemorative print, I set out to create a unique image of quiet poignancy and vision. A recurring theme that most members of the class expressed, was how the Vietnam War was the defining experience for their class. Over 500 of their 706 graduating members served in Vietnam and they felt that it was imperative for them to memorialize their twenty-one classmates who had lost their lives there. But the special times and feelings of camaraderie they all shared during their time as cadets was also frequently mentioned. Those years were remembered as the unifying experience for the class of 1968, and created between them a lifelong “Bond Of Brothers”. It was important for them to also commemorate their four years at West Point.

Standing within the shadow of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. has always been a moving experience for me. During a recent visit to research this commission, I was again inspired by the emotional energy of the Memorial and awed by its spiritual nature. It feels as if you are standing on solemn ground, about to enter a church or holy shrine. Visitors descending into the Memorial quickly become aware of its sanctity. They respectfully begin to lower their voices to a whisper, in reverence to the names etched upon the polished granite. These names seem to cry out for recognition and remembrance. Heart-drawn to move closer to the Memorial, one is compelled to reach out and touch the names, to feel the living presence of the young men inscribed there, to touch them again, even if just for a fleeting monent. One cannot also help but notice their own image, as well as the landscape reflected behind the names. The names appear to be overlapping the landscape, as if indelibly carved across the earth. The names and the landscape begin to blur and merge together, to unite and become one and the same. The two become inseparable, like the life of a Cadet with the Point and a Cadet with the Corps.

After contemplating this inherent duality and symbolism, and taking into consideration the requests of the class, I felt that the only way to completely fulfill their goals was by combining two different images together. These combined visuals would serve as a tangible connection between the class of 1968's service in Vietnam and their years at West Point. The names of the 1968 class members on the Memorial Wall would represent their sense of loss and all of their service in Vietnam, the defining experience of the class. An image of West Point viewed through the names on the Memorial would represent their years at the Academy, their unifying experience. The names and the landscape would softly overlay each other, implying within the design the appearance of West Point reflected on the Memorial Wall.

Scattered across fifteen panels on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall are the names of twenty 1968 class members who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields of Vietnam. Their names were placed together on a section of a single panel within the drawing. They were arranged alphabetically, as they would appear if they had all been killed within the same twenty-four hour period. Across the panel is an image of West Point circa 1968. The Cadet Chapel, old Washington Hall, and the old Central and North cadet barracks have all been recreated in the drawing using photographs, blueprints, and documents acquired from my research at the Academy’s archives. The entire scene is vibrantly lit by a brilliant sunset just behind the distant hills and from light radiating from inside the Chapel and the barracks themselves. The names appear like stars, stretching eternally across the heavens.

Gathered “in ghostly assemblage” on the parade ground is the Corps of Cadets. In full Dress Gray over White, they stand together, forever at attention, an eternal salute to the class of 1968.

“Bond Of Brothers” is respectfully dedicated to all the members of the USMA Class of 1968. It is my sincere wish that it is a fitting tribute to their lifelong devotion to; “Duty, Honor, Country”.

Paul R. Martin III
October 1998

“Before, I loved thee as a brother,….
But now, I do respect thee as my soul.”

William Shakespeare, Henry IV
Bond of Brothers:

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