Honoring the military is important. In fact, a week from today, our nation specifically remembers those who served on Veterans Day. But to sculptor, Ellis Luis Burman, he wanted to celebrate the soldier and not war itself. So he took a different approach in designing his Soldiers Memorial.

On Sunday April 26th, 1936, in The Nebraska State Journal featured an article entitled “Soldiers’ Memorial Stresses Peace Theme: Artist Burman is Holding Open House Today.” The journalist, John Wintersteen, interviewed Burman on his perspective on the statue.

I was getting tired of seeing statues of Victory Triumphant and exalted. Victory in war always means a tremendous loss to the victor as well as the vanquished, and to me, a statue of Victory isn’t true in spirit unless it tells the whole story.”

Wintersteen goes on to explain …

So the figure of Victory that will stand atop the Soldiers’ Memorial in Antelope Park – probably in time to be dedicated on the Fourth of July- will be a warrior leaning on his long sword; tired, contemplative, almost mournful, as he considers the loss he has concurred as the price of winning.

Burman notes that

“There’s nothing hilarious about war, win or lose.”

More about the Soldiers’ Memorial

The statue can be seen in the middle of the Antelope Park green space in Lincoln, Nebraska. Originally the plan was to put the statue in Pioneers Park. Another notable statue by Burman, “The Smoke Signal” had been placed there the year before. (1935)

The soldiers represented in the statue are from the four major conflicts in the United States up until that time: Revolutionary War, Civil War, Spanish American War and World War 1. Burman noted in the article that the Revolutionary War soldier had to be improvised since the State Historical Society did not have a complete uniform for him to reference. The other three statues are designed using historically accurate pictures and apparel.

Interested in learning more about Ellis Luis Burman? My article about this sculptor can be found in this month’s, L Magazine. 

“Ellis Burman left his mark on Lincoln with historic sculptures”

P.S. If you are ever wanting to take a picture in a place that is normally busy, try a 100 degree day. Not very many people go out then. 🙂



Author: neodyssey

My name is Gretchen Garrison. I started this blog about Nebraska in 2013. So far, I have written three books about Nebraska and Lincoln.