The images competed with the work of some of the finest, award-winning photographers in the world, to get their shots of the U.S. military included in the $2 million art portion of the Patriot Plaza project, officials at the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center in in Riverside, Calif., said.
“It’s truly an honor to have DOD imagery displayed in a permanent exhibit alongside Pulitzer Prize-winning pictures,” said Gregg Porter, DIMOC director.
The Patterson Foundation in Sarasota is funding the $10 million project to build Patriot Plaza, which will be donated to the Veterans Affairs Department’s National Cemetery Administration. Patriot Plaza will be dedicated in spring 2014 and will be a gathering point for patriotic events in Sarasota.
Of the thousands of pictures submitted, 266 were DOD photos gathered by Steve McGill, multimedia manager at DIMOC, which is a field activity of the Defense Media Activity.
“I selected shots from the Defense Visual Information Records Center’s archives,” McGill said. “We’re thrilled to get the news that five of our photos made the final cut.”
The five DOD images were taken by military photographers on active duty, some of whom are now retired. The DOD photos will be among 49 included in the “Witness to Mission” exhibit that will be displayed on standing marble tablets at Patriot Plaza.
“Witness to Mission” will be one of two exhibit themes and will depict the mission of the U.S. military since the Civil War, shown through the experiences of the men and women who made the history. The other theme will be “Service, Support, Sacrifice” and will capture personal stories of those who experienced military life.
McGill sent the DOD images he chose to Ken Irby, senior faculty member with the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school of journalism in Sarasota. The institute made the final selection, following strict criteria for photographic displays at national cemeteries. Veterans Affairs officials approved their choices.