Meet the Sculptor Who's Designed a Monument Paying Tribute to Benghazi Victims

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 8 2013 7:17 PM

Meet the Sculptor Who's Designed a Monument Paying Tribute to Benghazi Victims

Earlier this year, after the legendary Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle was killed, a sculptor named Greg Marra designed a statue to honor him. The mold was snapped up quickly by Kyle's admirers, and taken to a foundry. If you click over to Marra's website now, "America's Sculptor" is taking donations for a larger project, one tentatively titled "While Washington Slept." It's a tribute to the four Americans who died on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. Here's the 3-D model.

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I reached Marra at his studio after I saw that, and learned that he doesn't have a public price or an expectation of when he can start work. "The statue of Chris Kyle took about 2 months," he said, "so something like this, with four figures, might take six or seventh months. But I want to start as soon as I can. I have an undaunted aspiration to honor these people who did such great things for this country. I don't wait for people to say this is a good idea. I know it's a good idea -- as an artist I want to work on this to preserve our history."

Marra says he doesn't have a party affiliation, because he doesn't "know who I believe anymore." What he believes in are "statues that aren't affected by political correctness. I tried to build a statue of George Washington praying, and the VA told me it would offend atheists." This project won't be PC, either. "Benghazi's not going to be a statue of defeat and sadness and sorrow. It's going to show these heroes in combat, in a state of prayer, in a sense they wanted to survive and defend America. That's a common theme, you know? In Vietnam, the soldiers won the war. They did a number on the North Vietnamese. But the politicians had scared these boys in the wrong direction. Our soldiers don't lose. They don't know how to lose, my friend."

Marra's been contacted by politicians about the statue -- he won't say who -- and imagines that if it's bought it'll go up in D.C. "The statue there of MLK cost #120 million and it was made in China!" he said. "When this is done, it will cost much less, and Ican't imagine it would go anywhere else but DC. Hopefully it wouldn't be partisan, either. I'd like to see something in DC where they're all working together. And it doesn't really belong in New York City. I don't think it belongs in Libya."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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