East Coast Memorial.
 Manca, Albino, 1898-1976

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Title:East Coast Memorial

This Memorial was erected by the American Battle Monuments Commission to commemorate those who lost their lives on the Atlantic in World War II. I chose this image because I found its harsh militancy arresting. The eagle is swooping into the image from the left, cutting a formidable figure. It is carrying a laurel, and it stands upon a wave. All is grey and wintry around it—dead. The clouds bring an ominous wind behind it. It is ready to fight.

The eagle is a force to be reckoned with, for its strength, but also for its elegance and grace. We cannot help but marvel at it. Perhaps this is why the eagle is often used in national monuments.

The eagle is also a favorite subject of corny inspirational knick-knacks, usually quoting this passage. These pieces usually show a plastic blue sky with a soft sun beaming on a bald eagle, hovering over verse 31 in golden script. The image is calm and colorful, as if the dominance and sovereignty of the Lord were a calm image.

That is not always true, and I don’t imagine it’s what Isaiah had in mind. I imagine with the threat of Assyria at Israel’s heels, this kind of eagle is more what Isaiah was thinking of, strength and victory.

Verse 22 compares the created to grasshoppers before the Lord, and verse 26 speaks of his ability to number, to name, them. Before the eagle in this image are great stone tablets listing the dead. Certainly the eagle was erected to honor them, but this image shows the eagle in contrast. It is bold and strong and alive in spite of them. It represents the power of God to endure victorious with thousands dead before him.

Furthermore, waiting on the Lord can be a desolate, agonizing state of being—the winter of the soul—and this eagle expresses the sustaining power that can bring us through that agony. It is life in the midst of death. It is resurrection. -- Andrea Thornton

Artist:Manca, Albino, 1898-1976
Building:Battery Park (New York, N.Y.)
Object/Function:Sculpture, freestanding
City/Town:New York
Country:United States

Scripture:Isaiah 40:21-31
Lectionary links:BEpip05
General Subject:Eagle

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Copyright Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictural/3473909/
Copyright Permission:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License. In short: you are free to use and to share the file for non-commercial purposes under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license compatible with this one. For uses other than the above, contact the Divinity Library at divref@vanderbilt.edu.
Attribution:Manca, Albino, 1898-1976. East Coast Memorial, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54124 [retrieved December 18, 2018]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictural/3473909/.
Record Number:54124 Last Updated: 2011-04-13 15:35:19 Record Created: 2008-11-11 17:31:39
Institution:Vanderbilt University Unit: Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition