On the 238th anniversary of the Navy, a public art group and veterans in Naperville celebrated Sunday with the dedication of a 1920s-era sculpture of a sailor to complement a similar Army-themed statue already in a park near downtown.
The "Spirit of the American Navy" sculpture by E.M. Viquesney officially joins "Spirit of the American Doughboy" by the same artist in Burlington Square Park.
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Veterans groups and Century Walk Inc., a nonprofit organization that has brought 44 pieces of public art to Naperville since 1996, raised roughly $77,000 to install the sculpture after buying it from a private owner in Michigan.
"How appropriate that we can dedicate this today on the 238th birthday of the American Navy," said Lee Lindberg, senior vice commander of American Legion Post 43.
Organizers also unveiled a plaque about the sailor and new sidewalks and landscaping around the sculpture on the east side of the park. The sailor stands facing west and tipping his hat to his soldier counterpart across a grassy field.
"These guys have been strong and courageous throughout these 238 years," retired Navy Capt. William Ott said.