East Valley Veterans Parade celebrates art in wartime - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

East Valley Veterans Parade celebrates art in wartime

November 9th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
East Valley Veterans Parade celebrates art in wartime
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Santa Sun News Staff

After its pandemic-driven “parade in reverse” last year, the annual East Valley Veterans Parade will return this week with boots on the ground, marching music in the air and spectators lining the streets.

And this year the parade theme celebrates the impact of art and artists during wartime.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, in regular format at Center Street and University Drive, Mesa, then proceed south on Center, turning west onto 1st Street and continuing to Robson.

Art can inform and inspire. It can capture complicated emotions and record history from a unique viewpoint. These roles of art and artists take on added emphasis in times of war.

Portrait artists have captured the faces of historic military leaders for posterity. Sculptors have created compelling monuments to important wartime turning points and history.

From armed services recruitment posters to advertisements for war bonds, wartime art and artists throughout our history have created works that rallied our home front and boosted troop morale.

The image of “Kilroy was Here” became synonymous with service, dedication and commitment of U.S. Armed Forces throughout WWII and the Korean War. Kilroy seemed to appear first at every combat, training or occupation operation and was the last to leave.

Messages like “Uncle Sam Wants You” or “Buy War Bonds” also appeared on some iconic art that many are familiar with.  Posters during World War II were designed to instill a positive outlook, a sense of patriotism and confidence.

They linked the war in trenches with the war at home and were used to encourage all Americans to help with the war effort.

WWII also saw the rise of “nose art” that united and encouraged members of the Air Force.

Who hasn’t seen the iconic Memphis Belle on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress?  Nose art is probably the first connection the leaps to mind.  While frequently employing the image of women, nose art often consisted of ominous messages to our enemies.

In the midst of the difficulties of war, soldiers have found creative ways to express their feelings and deal with boredom, build comradery, identify/brag about home or unit and display patriotism.

Using whatever materials they found on-hand, they created trench art and have turned ordinary T-wall concrete barriers into works of art and expression.

T-walls became the palette of the modern war artist. Coming into prominence during the conflicts in the Middle East, these concrete barriers are used for a variety of purposes.

From small walls at traffic control points to giant retaining walls to protect against deadly threats like IEDs, T-walls are an everyday sight.  Their stark gray appearance is in invitation to the murals that inevitably followed.

Trench art is a term used to describe objects made from the debris and by-products of modern warfare.  Often trench art was made to pass the time in a “hurry up and wait” environment.

Even Kilroy, the ‘meme before memes’, is a form of graffiti art.  He popped up in many places, in many variations, and still does today.

Whether from professional artists or amateurs, including school children, art continues to play an important role in our ability to express our deepest emotions during turbulent times.

As part of the East Valley Veterans Parade, art also provides a way to profoundly share our pride and gratitude for the service of the men and women of our armed services – veterans, active military and their families.

But perhaps a most meaningful connection of art and war is the therapeutic value of art to our warriors.  It can help us deal with strong emotions, increase self-awareness and self-worth and decrease stress and anxiety.  As our veterans deal with post-service challenges, art can play a key role in helping the healing process.

So – art and war – how does this connect for you? Join the 2021 East Valley Veterans Day Parade and show everyone your art.

For more parade information, visit www.evvp.org.

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