NJ sculptor Sabin Howard finishing national WWI Memorial

New Jersey-based sculptor Sabin Howard is approaching the final stages of what may be his most personal work yet: A bronze tableau entitled "A Soldier's Journey" that will be America's World War I memorial once unveiled in the nation's capital next year.

For Howard, the memorial's creation has been a labor of love.

"I had to completely transform my identity as an artist and make something that was visceral and would really be accepted by the populous," Howard told FOX 5 New York.

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"A Soldier's Journey" tells the story of an American doughboy, from his goodbyes to his family to his action on the European war front, his brotherhood with fellow GI's, and his eventual return home to his family.


Sculptor Sabin Howard

FOX 5 first interviewed Howard in 2015 shortly after he was commissioned to make the memorial as part of our Modern Masters series. 

Once complete, the memorial will stand 10 feet tall and more than 58 feet wide with 38 pieces. 


A view of "A Soldier's Journey."

Now being finalized are pieces 29 through 33, a multi-race depiction of the soldier and his brothers-in-arms charging on to victory.  Howard also highlighted the role nurses played in WWI, a stern reminder that women were also there.

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Real-life models were used for each figure depicted.  To capture the battle-weary emotions of the hero soldier, 32-year-old United States Marine Corps veteran Ricky Zambrano was used.  


Marine Corps veteran Ricky Zambrano was used as a real-life model for the sculpture. 

Zambrano, who served in Afghanistan, knows some of the emotions those soldiers must have felt.

"Just going back to those moments and stuff and just reliving, and I felt like it was healing to like just be able to go back and then reflect to see like where I'm at now.  It's just a beautiful, like full circle moment," Zambrano said.

"A Soldier's Journey" will be officially unveiled at Pershing Park in the National Mall in September 2024.