World War II memorial for Royal Oak starts to take shape

Sculptor working on clay models of what Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial will look like

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - They will be remembered as our greatest generation, and now a memorial to honor veterans of World War II is really starting to take shape.

Clay sculptures being created inside the 555 Gallery and Studios in Detroit gives a sneak peek at what the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial in Royal Oak will look like once it's completed to true scale this November.

Russell Levine of the Honor Flight of Michigan helped design the memorial. Levine's father Laurence served in Europe.

"At a most basic level, these guys, and by guys, I mean men and women who served, they saved the world," said Russell Levine.

James Halbert also served overseas, his son Larry is the project sculptor.

"It's extraordinary. It's a family connection for me," said Larry Halbert.

The one third scale models can be adjusted on a wire frame.  Eventually full sized bronze figures will be at the memorial that will be located at Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Road.

"What we want to do is try to make a story that connects the Michigan homefront with the battle front," said Halbert.

For example, stories of battles on land, sea and air each carry a connection to the work on the homefront, from Rosie the Riveter to children.

"The kids are picking milkweed for the purpose of stuffing life vests," said Halbert about one of the sculptures.

The Michigan legislature has recognized the $3 million project as the states official tribute to hundreds of thousands of citizens and soldiers.

"He's the solider reading a letter from home in a foxhole on the battlefront," said Halbert about another sculpture.

The project will be completed as early as this November.

"We want people to be able to look and learn about the war, learn about the ways Michigan contributed, we want it to be a place of reflection, so people can think about what happened," said Levine.  

The people working on the memorial are looking for individual and corporate donations to help make the memorial a reality.

For information on how to help support the project, click here.

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