Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yossi Govrin's Monument to Donald Douglas and His Dog, Wunderbar, Unveiled at the Santa Monica Airport

Yossi Govrin and his Bronze Sculpture of Donald Douglas and Wunderbar

Yossi Govrin spoke yesterday at the unveiling of his bronze sculpture of Donald Douglas and dog Wunderbar ."I have always been afraid of flying, " he said. "As an Israeli, all citizens serve for a time in support of the country. And as I just said I was always afraid of flight. So what did they do? They put me in the airforce. And they made me jump out of airplanes!" Yossi was safely on the ground speaking in the shadow of the Douglas DC-3 Monument which seemed to soar above him.

This aircraft was built at the Santa Monica airport in 1942 and after a long journey from the US Army Air Corps, to the Navy, to a stint in commercial aviation with Nationwide Airlines, to service with the Richfield oil company, the plane now dubbed "The Spirit of Santa Monica" is home. Echoing Yossi's days jumping out of aircraft, this DC-3 was initially used as a 28-seat paratrooper and glider tug.

Palmer, Alfred T.- photographer.
Women at work on C-47 Douglas cargo transport, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.
1942 Oct.

In the 1920's, Donald Douglas started building planes in a small workshop in the backroom of a barbershop on Pico Boulevard. By the end of World War II, Douglas Aircraft had produced more than 30,000 planes for the United States Armed Services. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former commanding general of the United States forces in Europe fighting the Nazis, remarked "that the DC-3 was one of the four reasons the allies won the war."

Artist Yossi Govrin

My father-in-law, Ralph Heilemann, after serving with the Navy, worked at a secret weapons system in a hangar at the Santa Monica airport in the 1950's. Ralph later went on to work on the Lunar Rover for the Apollo, moon shot, program. Yesterday, watching the crowds beneath The Spirit of Santa Monica and milling around Yossi Govrin's sculpture, I thought of how the past continually mingles with the present. And that the creative spirit and heroism of those who have come before us continue to season our lives.

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (Ralph - Madison)
Gregg Chadwick
I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (Ralph Heilemann)
16" x 8" oil on linen 2008


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