Jim Brothers, the man behind the works of art at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, passed away Wednesday at the age of 72 after a long struggle with cancer.
Delicately placed among the gardens at the memorial are the emotional faces that have captured the spirit of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy. The faces have drawn thousands there to remember those who have fallen.
While those faces belong to those who have passed, they somehow bring life to the gardens surrounding the works of art in Bedford, often resting places for the hundreds of butterflies who live there during the summer.
April Cheek-Messier, the president of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, says it's a legacy that Jim Brothers will be remembered for.
"He has just been an invaluable talent full of energy and passion for history," Cheek-Messier said. "A real patriot. He loves the World War II generation, always loved and admired them, and it really shows in the work that you see here at the memorial."
Brothers' work was perfected down to the smallest detail, like the wedding band that's worn by a soldier struggling to save his partner on his first sculpture at the memorial. It's tinted a shade brighter than the rest of the piece.
The imagery has left visitors speechless.
"I often say that you really don't need any words with the sculptures that he created because they evoke such powerful emotions in the people that are here," Cheek-Messier said.
Just before Brothers' passing he finished his last work of art dedicated to the men from Bedford, lovingly referred to as the "Bedford Boys."
Now the foundation is working to raise $250,000 to purchase the piece and have it installed on the grounds.
They hope to have it unveiled on D-Day.
If you would like to make a donation to purchase this piece visit their website.
Now, not only will the memorial honor those who fought during World War II, but it will honor the man who captured the spirit of the war and brought it to Bedford.