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Emotional Unveiling of "Silent Battle" in Lewiston

SILENT BATTLE UNVEILED.jpg

Making its second journey to Lewiston in as many years, the Eyes of Freedom received a patriotic welcome Friday afternoon.

Cars and big rigs honked their approval for the crowd along the Memorial Bridge. One whole side of the bridge's walkway was filled with red, white, and blue waving on the travelling military memorial's return. This time around, they've brought something never before seen in public; artist Anita Miller's bronze statue, "Silent Battle."

It's metal with a message.

Miller says, "Honoring the battle that continues after men and women come back home from combat. Men are lost to suicide, women are lost to suicide after that and we want to really recognize the fact that that is a casualty of war."

Some in the crowd gasped as the life-size bronze statue of a grieving soldier was unveiled to the crowded room and the nation.

With 22 veterans lost to suicide every day, Miller wanted to bring communities together, civilian or servicemember.

"Talk to each other, to support each other. It's really all about connections and love," Miller says.

This newest piece was inspired by veteran Brian Zimmerman, who shared his struggles returning to life after combat with Miller.

Through this statue, she hopes to inspire more conversations. "The grief is painful, but it's also beautiful to see that healing start to take place."

And as people streamed forward to touch it, which the artist encourages - "Charge that metal with that love because there are going to be plenty of people that have extra love to give, and there are going to be plenty of people that need to take love away," - the silent battle touched them.

"Open your heart and look into the eyes of the men and allow yourself to feel the love," Miller says.

The Eyes of Freedom will be at the Red Lion Seaport Room through Sunday before closing ceremonies at 3 P.M.

The exhibit is open Saturday from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. and Sunday from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.

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