July 2nd, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Building an art monument to honor our military veterans requires dedication, commitment and a team to get the job done. It takes an artist willing to spend a decade researching, designing and creating the paintings. It takes a committed group of individuals to share the dream and it takes hundreds donors to make it come true!

The Veterans Art Monument was commissioned by the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association and consists of five 8’ X 10’ oil paintings; each paying tribute to the men and women of the five branches of the U.S. Military: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The artist, Charles Gilbert Kapsner, a native of Little Falls, studied in the studio of Nerina Simi in Florence, Italy.  He has spent the last 10 years working on what he says is perhaps the most impactful project of his career.

The five paintings are installed in the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls. The paintings tell the story of each branch of service, commemorating the sacrifices of all who have served. Besides being a memorial to our nation’s military men and women, the paintings are educational tools which will help citizens and future generations to understand the vital role that the U.S. Military plays in maintaining our freedom and democracy.

Yesterday a new exhibit was dedicated at the River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud.  The “Minnesota Veterans Historic Art Monument” was financed by major donations from Marco, Ickler Inc., the Morgan Family Foundation, the Coborn Family Foundation, Stearns Bank, Freedom Flight, the Bernick Family Foundation and Rice Companies.  The exhibit features reproductions of the paintings and an audio visual kiosk with the artists explanation of the content of each of the five paintings.  King Banaian, Dean of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University narrated the histories.  The St. Cloud Committee that made this possible included Burt Dubow, Len Wohlman, King Banaian, Dieter Pape and Ron Brandenburg. 

This Sunday, July 4th, the artist Charles Kapsner, will be at the Committal Hall at the Minnesota Stare Veterans Cemetery from noon until 3pm.    I hope that you will be able to take the time to visit with him and learn about the making of the monument. 

“Millions of men and women have served. Many were wounded in battle. Many died to keep us free. The least that we can do is to remember them.”  Jack Peck  Veteran U.S. Navy  and Past President of the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association.  

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