I visited a sobering but beautiful Arlington art exhibit at American Legion Post 139 last night that raises awareness about veteran suicides. You can still see it tonight, Wednesday, March 20, at the Post, 3445 Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA..
The illuminated display “22-13” by artist Scott LoBaido depicts a pair of twos facing each other covered in an American flag design, in which the white stripes feature a collage of all the wars the U.S. has participated in. The opposing numbers twos create an empty heart between them. The base includes 22 pairs of empty boots and it is surrounded by 22 life-size figures that represent the 22 veterans who take their own lives each and every day.
LoBaido says he writes the number 22 in the palm of his hand every single day to remind him of their sacrifices. LoBaido, of New York, also painted the flag mural on the Post 139’s wall as part of his “Painting Flags Across America” tour.
The Post offers support and sponsors community programs and services to local veterans. And the Post will soon be replaced with a new building with 160 affordable apartments with half set aside for veterans.
For more information about the artwork and the artist, visit LoBaido’s website.