On the corner of Washington Street and West Dedham, one can see the striking statue of a male and female solider striding bravely together into battle.
It’s the only place in America where one can find such a war memorial.
The six-year-old statue designed by Bob Shure of Skylight Studios for the Puerto Rican Veterans Monument Square Association is still the only war memorial that represents both genders equally.
It is a point that the Association holds proudly.
And something that Shure is also very proud of.
“It makes it a very unique piece,” said Shure. “Most other war memorials depict men in action or just all men…The are meant to be universal figures and represent the world of the past, present and future.”
When he was commissioned to design the Square and the statue, Shure said he began doing research on the history of Puerto Ricans in the military and found participation from men and women. He wanted that represented in the statue, and the Association agreed.
“When I first started working on designs I read the history of the Puerto Rican contribution to the armed forces,” he said. “After the research, I wanted it to represent two soldiers of each gender – a man and a woman – walking out equally into battle. I also used contemporary uniforms that could be universal…I presented it to the Board to see what they thought and they loved it and thought it was wonderful. We went with it.”
The statue is cast bronze and was two years in the making.
It was accompanied by the hardscape that is there, made of Canadian Mahogany granite – with both of them replacing what was just a pile of rubble when the area was named 20 years ago.
Though a plaque was the only thing there for some time, Shure said he was honored that the Association thought enough of him to use his designs and keep in contact with him after the 2013 opening.
Since that time, he has also designed the new archway over the front of the Memorial, and other added aspects to the Square also. “I’m honored to have created the statue and also at having been taken in by the Puerto Rican community as family,” he said. “They’re just great people. I hope the community and