Art Touching Hearts

A bronze statue of a disabled veteran saluting the flag – took a Salina man back to Southeast Asia on Saturday.

“It makes my heart really proud that someone remembers what the flag stands for,” said Bill Naecker as he paused to take in the details of the piece entitled, “Stand For The Flag.”

The twenty-year U.S. Army vet was part of dozens of other groups walking through downtown to enjoy the unveiling of the 2016 Sculpture Tour Salina.

Bill Naecker

Bill Naecker

“That takes me back, I know a lot of men who served and were wounded,” said Naecker, who served in the Army Medical Corps for two and a half years in Viet Nam.

“That brings it home, a disabled vet, the old jungle fatigues, the medals across the chest – yea that does it for me.”

The statue is just one of 22 new pieces of art on display up and down a three block area on Santa Fe Avenue between Ash and Mulberry Street.

“Stand For The Flag” earned 2nd Place in the juried show while “Forget Me Not” was named the top bronze sculpture.

“Iron Valley” picked up a 2nd Place finish in the mixed media category, while “His N Hers” placed 1st.

The life-sized elephant crafted from salvaged metal titled, “Slim” was named “Best In Show” and will reside near Phillips Plaza until next April.

Visitors are encouraged to grab a ballot between now and December, 31st and vote for their favorite sculpture after they have seen all the pieces on the walking tour.

Each year the City of Salina purchases the “People’s Choice” as part of the community’s permanent public art collection.

All Photos by: Olivia Garretson