A Lawrence sculptor finishes his tribute to a World War II hero.
For the past year and a half, Lawrence sculptor Jim Brothers has been on a manhunt.
He's searched through books and talked to family members and military leaders like Gens. Norman Schwartzkopf and William Westmoreland, trying to capture the essence of Gen. Omar Bradley for a 10-foot monument to honor the nation's last five-star general and leader of World War II's Normandy invasion.
The search is over, the statue is done -- and Brothers is the victor.
The deliberate lines and curves of Bradley's bronze face register both gentleness and strength. His boots and .45 pistol, with their metallic nitrate-induced patina, show the crudeness of war. A neatly knotted tie is evidence of his retained civility.
"I was trying to capture as much of his soul and get the feeling of the man ... the essence of his life, not his death," Brothers said Thursday morning during an interview at Heartland Art Bronze, the foundry where the monument was cast and finished.
"The more I studied him, the more I liked him. He was a humble man. Even in public he didn't wear his medals. His wife said he was a warrior who hated wars. "
Today, the bronze general is going home to Moberly, Mo., where it will be placed on a 4-foot pedestal and then erected in the city's 350-acre park.
Carolee Hazlet, president of Gen. Omar Bradley Inc. in Moberly, said city officials decided on the Bradley monument after receiving calls from history buffs, veterans and tourists who were interested in coming to the small Missouri town to see the general's boyhood home.
"It was long past time that we do something to honor him," she said.
The city formed an advisory committee to get the $200,000 project rolling. Within a short time, Westmoreland, Schwartzkopf and President Dwight D. Eisenhower's son, John, had signed on as committee members. And contributions came pouring in from across the country.
The committee chose Brothers to sculpt the monument based on the strength of his past works: a 6-foot Mark Twain in Hartford, Conn.; "Flight," a 7-foot bronze at federal buildings in Kansas City, Mo., and Oklahoma City; "The Vision," an 8-foot fountain at the River Market in Kansas City, Mo.; and "Spirit of the CCC," a life-size monument commissioned by the Civilian Conservation Corps in Los Angeles.
The Moberly monument will be dedicated Nov. 11 with Westmoreland and perhaps Schwartzkopf present. Brothers said a 30-inch replica of the Bradley bronze will soon be on its way to the Pentagon, and there's a possibility that another full-scale monument will be sent to Normandy.
Hazlet said the committee couldn't have selected a better sculptor for the project.
"He's a wonderful person," she said, " ... and a wonderful artist."