In 2018, I created the Returning Home sculpture as a tribute to military families nationwide. The life-size monument was sculpted to convey the happiness experienced by a family when a soldier returns home. It captures a moment of joy, love, and commitment expressed by the family.
The child holds onto her father’s side and embraces him with an expression intended to depict the feelings of a child seeing her father after deployment. The soldier’s wife has leaped into her husband’s embrace, aiming to convey this emotional embrace in a unique composition, with her shoes beneath her left off the body to convey a sense of movement.
While this sculpture is one of my more intricate works, it holds a special place in my heart. It was made only a couple of years after my dad had passed away. In some ways for me, it expresses a longing to be with my father again.
The positioning of the woman’s head, looking downward with her hair framing her profile, was intentional. I gave her the jumping hug to also create the downcast gaze and connect her to the woman in another sculpture made that same year called Gold Star Wife. Both Gold Star Wife and the woman in Returning Home were meant to be the same woman, one before and the other after. By using the same model, I designed the downcast head in a similar manner, hoping to establish a visual connection.
The poppies in the woman’s hand in Returning Home was meant to further communicate that the two sculptures are connected. The decision to include poppies was suggested by my client who purchased the first Returning Home for American Veterans Park. Although it may be a small detail, it remains one of my favorite elements in the sculpture.
We are currently working on another bronze casting which will be installed in Florida sometime in the spring of 2024. More details on that project will be shared later.