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Sunday Morning / remarqued (Paul McGehee)
Sunday Morning / remarqued (Paul McGehee)
The Navy - Merchant Marine Memorial (Paul McGehee)

"The Navy - Merchant Marine Memorial" by Paul McGehee. In the years following the armistice of 1918, veterans of both the United States Navy and the United States Merchant Marine lobbied Congress to erect a statue commemmorating the service and sacrifice of the 7,200 sailors and merchant seamen who lost their lives during the first World War. Finally, it was agreed that a memorial to both maritime services be erected within the nation's capital. The Navy - Merchant Marine Memorial, as it was to be called, was designed in 1922 by famed architect Harvey Wiley Corbett, the same man who designed such varied projects as the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia and Bush House (the longtime home of the BBC) in London, England. The new memorial, featuring seven seagulls flying over the waves, was to be sculpted by Ernesto Begni del Piatta. It was to be built upon Columbia Island, a part man-made, part naturally-formed spit of land stretching along the Virginia shoreline of the Potomac River. The process of funding the project spanned several years, and ground was not broken on the memorial until eight years after its design was approved. On December 2, 1930, a ceremonial shovel passed between Secretary of the Navy Charles Francis Adams, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon, Marine Corps Major General Ben H. Fuller, Coast Guard Commandant Rear Admiral Frederick C. Billard, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce David Sinton Ingalls...and the construction of the cast-aluminum and granite monument commenced. With progress on the memorial soon delayed again for three years during the worst point of the Great Depression, it was eventually completed in 1934. Due to lack of funding, the original design which called for a sculpted, polished green granite base depicting the waves of a stormy sea was altered into a simple concrete plinth, artistically diminishing the visual effect of the maritime statue. A few years later, in 1940, the Works Progress Administration provided the funding needed to complete Corbett's vision with the construction of the wavy green granite featuring steps and a surrounding concrete plaza with gardens. Today, the unique and dramatic Navy - Merchant Marine Memorial is one of the visual highlights of Washington, DC. Situated near the foot of the 14th Street Bridge and the mouth of the Pentagon Yacht Basin, it is part of Lady Bird Johnson Park on Columbia Island, maintained by the National Park Service. In the springtime of the year it is especially breathtaking, as it is surrounded by a vibrant ring of bright-red tulips. It is known as one of the most beautiful monuments in our nation's capital. "The Navy - Merchant Marine Memorial" is faithfully reproduced from Paul's original color pencil drawing as an archival quality print issued in a strictly limited edition of only 500 pieces each hand-signed by the artist. Print image size 13 7/8" x 11".

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