Fallen Comrade Sculpture Dedication Set for Veterans Day
November 5, 2012
On the day when America salutes its military veterans, people are invited to the dedication of Sam Gore’s Fallen Comrade sculpture that celebrates the friendship of two Korean War soldiers from Clinton.
The ceremony is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday November 11 at the Clinton Visitors Center.
Standing 7 ½ feet tall and weighing a couple of thousand pounds, the newest Gore masterpiece will remain on permanent display at the center off the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The 85-year-old Gore is an internationally celebrated artist who’s served with distinction as chairman of the Mississippi College Art Department.
Gore calls the piece of art “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” And that’s saying something for the Mississippian whose award-winning career has spanned six decades at his alma mater in Clinton.
Clinton Mayor Rosemary Aultman is elated about welcoming the new piece of art to her hometown.
“The Fallen Comrade sculpture is truly a labor of love and gratitude from the community in honor of all veterans,” Aultman said.
In recent months, Aultman was among the leaders of a campaign to raise money to build the sculpture. Dollars quickly began flowing in from Clinton residents and others from several states with close ties to the vibrant community in Hinds County. “It has been truly gratifying to watch the project unfold.”
Mayor Aultman is delighted with the final product. “Dr. Sam Gore has captured the spirit of two Clinton men, Homer Ainsworth and Joe Albritton, whose friendship and devotion to each other is the basis for the sculpture,” she said.
A 1951 Mississippi College graduate, Gore “has put his heart into telling their story by making certain every detail of the sculpture is a true replica of the era,” the mayor said.
The day prior to the ceremony, on November 10, there will be a gathering of USA military veterans at the Clinton Visitors Center to share their stories and visit with the public.
Among the leaders speaking at the November 11 dedication will be Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton and Waller King, a World War II veteran who is formerly of Clinton. Third District U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper will give the benediction.
Booked to supply the program’s entertainment will be the Clinton High Jazz Band, while the 114th Military Police Unit will post the colors. Closing the ceremony, Steve Cook will perform “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
Friends since grade school, Albritton and Ainsworth were both Marines who were barely out of their teens when they served together during the Korean War in the early 1950s. They are buried a few feet apart in the Clinton cemetery.
“I think the tribute is a treasure for our community and will have a very special place in Clinton,” Aultman said.
Gore utilized the Lugar Foundry of Memphis to do the final work on the Fallen Comrade sculpture that he crafted at his home in Clinton.
Photo: Sam Gore