The Homecoming© Statue
Navy people aren't the only ones who leave home on business, so the joyous reunion of a sailor, wife and child portrayed in Stanley Bleifeld's The Homecoming isn't a new message. But there is more at work here than a quick clinch, the kind seen any Friday night at the airport.
Most business trips don't take six months or more nor do they entail putting lives on the line. So the reunion here evokes a liberation from awesome loneliness and fear – for all the participants. Moreover, as wonderful as the recruiters paint it, the adventure of going to sea is plain hard work and filled with uncertainties – for those who go and those who stay behind. Whole lives have changed during this separation, and great spans of time lost can never be recovered.
This reunion is as much a celebration of success as it is freedom from hardship. The Homecoming©
attests to a shared sense of accomplishment – recognition by sailor, wife and child that each has done the duty set before them. Not only is theirs the triumph of survival, it is a triumph of achievement.
True, there is a romance to going to sea, but The Homecoming©
reminds us that some of what the swashbucklers brag about is really the romance of coming back home.
Exquisitely capturing the moment shared by two centuries of Navy families, The Homecoming©
follows The Lone Sailor©
as Mr. Bleifeld's second major work for the Navy Memorial. The Connecticut-based sculptor developed his design of a Navy family reunion after he visited Navy home ports to witness the celebrations for Navy ships and squadrons returning from overseas deployments.
The Homecoming statue is the generous gift of the Fleet Reserve Association.