MC

Mississippi College

Fallen Comrade Sculpture Honors USA Military Veterans

November 12, 2012

Soldiers, political leaders and students joined the crowd celebrating the dedication of the Fallen Comrade on Veterans Day.

Many of the more than 200 people joining the patriotic program at the Clinton Visitors Center Sunday were also admirers of the sculpture’s creator, Sam Gore.

Honoring the friendship of two U.S. Marines, Homer Ainsworth and Joe Albritton, two Clinton buddies who served on the battlefield in the Korean War, the 6’6” sculpture is a tribute to millions of American military veterans.

With rifle in hand, Albritton is depicted carrying the body of his friend, Homer, to safety so his friend could be buried on American soil in Clinton. Bullets are rooted in the base of the sculpture.

“It’s incredible,’’ says Mississippi College Art Department Chairman Randy Miley as he joined scores of people others taking pictures of the statue. “This comes from the heart,’’ he said of Dr. Gore’s work.

“This is a very good tribute to the veterans,’’ added businessman Doug Wing of Jackson, whose father knows Gore, retired chairman of the MC Art Department.

Among the people taking part in the program on a windy afternoon were Third District U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, Clinton Mayor Rosemary Aultman, and Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton. George Waller King of Tennessee, who knew both soldiers, delivered the Veterans Day address.

“Thanks, Dr. Gore for this masterpiece,’’ says Harper, who joined the artist for photos afterwards. In his benediction, Harper hoped countless visitors off the Natchez Trace Parkway would view the sculpture as a reminder of the many sacrifices of brave USA veterans.

In his 61st year of teaching at his alma mater, Mississippi College, Gore told the crowd he was “thoroughly inspired’’ by the two Clinton soldiers and their families as he worked on the bronze sculpture for the past year.

It’s a sculpture that cherishes the accomplishments of more than 200,000 veterans in the Magnolia State and others around the nation, Gunn said. “It is a monument that’s a longlasting testament to all of us.’’

Gore himself is a veteran. The Mississippian joined the military at age 16 and later included service in the U.S. Navy before going to art school in the late 1940s. He’s a 1951 Mississippi College graduate who’s blessed with God-given talent.

An internationally celebrated artist at age 85, Gore said he was honored to be asked to undertake the project that got off the ground due to a major fund drive pushed by Mayor Aultman and other supporters of MC’s living legend.

 His latest piece of art began at his home in Clinton and was finished at the Lugar Foundry near Memphis. During the four-hour trip from Memphis, there were many travelers saluting his statute and taking pictures as it was transported along I-55 to Clinton last week.

One of Samuel Gore’s students decades ago at Mississippi College, artist Wyatt Waters of Clinton summed up the feelings of many visitors at the ceremonies in a few short words. “I love Dr. Gore!’’