“V” for Victory Eagle on Memorial Day

“V” for Victory Eagle on Memorial Day

Like in his childhood hometown in Czechoslovakia during World War II, Charles treasured the art and architecture in his adopted home of Detroit as an adult. Many of Charles’s engineering projects were downtown so he eyed its buildings and sculptures. The 30’ tall Vermont marble Victory Eagle carved by sculptor Marshall Fredericks on the front of the former Veterans Memorial Building in Hart Plaza was among his favorites. The powerful motif of strength and beauty seems to grow out of the façade of the building, its wings forming a great Victory sign.

That “V” sign reminded Charles how important it was to his family early in World War II. It was used as a rallying signal, by holding up one’s first two fingers and was meant to show defiance to the Nazis. The British BBC took this idea and created its V for Victory campaign, which continued through the war and essentially was used by all Allied nations and their armed forces. In his memoir Charles wrote how the British BBC radio broadcasts his family listened to always started with the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – three short notes and a long (da-da-da-daaaa) that were Morse code for the letter “V.”

The building was dedicated in 1950 to honor the people from Michigan who gave their lives in service to their country. The memorial statement: “In honored memory of those who gave their lives for their country” was carved below the eagle. The eagle also holds olive branches representing peace and flies into the future while looking back in remembrance of the past. Photo: David Adams.

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