Time to drop a little history knowledge on you.
The Navy Construction Battalion or “SeaBees” were created in 1941 to help with the sudden need for naval facilities after the Pearl Harbor bombing, especially after the use of civilian construction team became too dangerous and unrealistic. For more than 60 years, they have been a vital part of our military’s ability to create footholds throughout the world. While specializing in naval related construction like ports and airstrips, they also operate similar to the Army Corps of Engineers and have aided in the reconstruction of other countries hit by war or natural disasters. Although the Seabees do not operate solely on the main, they are especially capable at underwater and amphibious engineering.
Tens of thousands of Seabees have served in every major American conflict since WWII. They’ve helped with the construction of roads, buildings and hospitals for the military and civilian programs alike. Check this out for a whole history.
Also, in 1942 the film The Fighting Seabees was released and featured, I am told, one of the few scenes of John Wayne dancing.
Now, all that being said, the Seabee statue between the Memorial Bridge and the entrance of Arlington cemetery is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen.
I’ve been ostensibly aware of the memorial since a new driving routine brought me near it a few month back. But it doesn’t have a dedicated parking lot so you really need to go out of your way to see it. Since I was walking the dog on Roosevelt Island last week, I figured why not go check it out?* The copper relief behind the statue is very well done and features some of the more historic feats by the battalion. And there are powerfully moving inscriptions in the marble base-work along the sides. But the statue…
You won’t believe me when I say the thing that bothers me most about this thing is the scale of the child. Everyone knows kid’s heads are huge. I mean, who hasn’t gotten their noggins stuck in their grandparent’s banister in a comical fashion. This kid wouldn’t. His melon is tiny.
(The truth be told, I don’t like any statues of children. Especially their tiny, pebbled teeth. So pronounced and so gross. There’s one on L near the Potbelly of a man holding a small girl. Thank you, but I’ll walk on the other side of the street. And the worst thing about V for Vendetta? Not the tacked on ending with all the dead character taking their Fawkes masks off, but the brief scene with Agent Smith around a statue of dancing girls.)
Of course my other problem with the Seabees statue is the giant, bare-chested man. Strong, muscular, friendly and generous, I got no problem with those adjectives. But shirtless seems unnecessary. I want to be the bigger man and steer clear from any possible pedophilic undertones but, well, for starters the guy looks like he’s about to take of his belt.
You know what, let’s just leave at that. The US Seabees = brave, honorable and noble. Their statue = creepy.
*Also on this walk - the dog was sniffing around the bushes near the GW parkway and when I pulled him out he was chewing a deer’s forearm. Hoof, bones, muscles and all. Later, when I was taking the pictures of the statues I saw he was eating something new. I forced open his muzzle only to grab and handful of shat. Anyone want a dog? Slightly used, horrible breath.