On Monday, May 29, 2023, during the Rockport Memorial Day Ceremony, the Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) will dedicate a sculpture by Andy Sacksteder that honors World War II veterans.
The life-sized bronze artwork, The Last Man Standing, depicts an elderly veteran standing and saluting with his right hand as he looks into the distance. The figure leans on a cane with his left hand and stands in front of a wheelchair, giving the appearance that he has just risen from the chair. Earlier this month, the statue was installed at the Aransas County Veterans Memorial Park, which is adjacent to Rockport Harbor and about a quarter of a mile down the street from RCA. The piece is part of RCA’s permanent collection and is the third in an open edition of 15 by the artist.
In a press release Luis Purón, executive director for RCA, said, “We are pleased to partner with the Aransas County Navigation District to bring The Last Man Standing to Veterans Park. It’s a beautiful, moving piece and a heartfelt tribute by the artist in exactly the right location in our community. We are honored to bring it to Rockport for all to enjoy.”
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 167,000 of the more than 16 million Americans who served in World War II were still alive in 2022.
Mr. Sacksteder, whose father served in the Navy during WWII, noted, “Yielding to the inalterable process of aging, the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their nineties and older, and as they pass on, the memories of World War II — its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs — disappear. I wanted to capture their experience, reflect the glories and horrors of war in the veteran’s wise etched face while conveying the great pride and love of country through a hand raised in a timeless salute.”
Based in Ohio, Mr. Sacksteder came to art later in life. He holds a BA in Landscape Horticulture from the Ohio State University and worked as a landscape architect for most of his life. In 2008, at the age of 52, Mr. Sacksteder decided to pursue becoming a sculptor.
The Rockport Memorial Day Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 29, 2023 at the Aransas County Veterans Memorial Park.