Monument to honor student veterans coming to campus

Artists rendering 001By: LESLIE LESTINSKY
Staff Writer

Student veteran Wayne Weekes came back to IU South Bend in 2015 with a goal in mind—get a monument erected on campus to honor student veterans.
Weekes worked for Veterans Affairs over the summer, which got him thinking about experiences and challenges veterans face. He began looking at monuments on various university campuses for inspiration. The image he landed on was the Rubik’s cube.
“A Rubik’s cube begins with all colors aligned and in unison. But then, you mess with it and it gets disconnected,” Weekes said. “I started thinking about our [veterans’] service. When we first sign up, like the Rubik’s cube, we are complete; you have an idea of who you are and what your life is about. Then you go into the military and they mess with you. They turn you, twist you and make you into something else, something that you weren’t before. It’s the same as the Rubik’s cube, you were one way and now you’re not.
Some vets cannot overcome the challenge of adjusting. They become homeless, commit suicide and struggle day in and day out. The Rubik’s Cube, Weekes said, symbolized that struggle.
“ The process of rearranging it to resemble the old image is ongoing, and sometimes difficult depending on the one holding the cube. You go in. You have issues. You deal with things; do your job the best you can. Then you get out, and you are forced to figure out, how do you put these pieces together, how do you become complete again? Service members are always tied to the military, part of you always wants to be in that culture, but you can’t, you have to adjust to civilian life and move on to the next stage.”
The monument design is a replica of the Rubik’s Cube with dog tags on each side. Weekes wanted the monument to symbolize all service members, from all branches, men and women.
“The one thing that is symbolic to us all is our dog tags,” Weekes said. “It’s gender neutral. It’s something we all get after boot camp. Some people even hang onto them after they get home. We can all relate to that.”
Weekes is working with a student sculptor from IUSB. They plan to have a model completed in time to unveil at the Veterans Luncheon Nov. 11.
Pieces of the monument will, hopefully, be mobile, like pieces of a real Rubik’s cube. The sides will be able to rotate.
Weekes could not confirm where the sculpture will be on campus or its final dimensions, but it is projected to be nine feet tall, made of steel and aluminum and coated to withstand the environment.

Funds to create the monument and commission the sculptor need to be raised. If you are interested in donating to this project, Wayne Weekes can be contacted at:
SVO Office: Administration Building Room 118C (574)-520-4698
Twitter: @SVO_IUSouthBend
Facebook: IU South Bend Student Veteran Organization

By The Preface at IUSB

IU South Bend's Official Student Newspaper

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