Local News: A Military Tribute (7/4/22)
(Sentinel Photos by Beverly Van Buskirk) A military salute honoring veterans is currently being performed at the Browns Century Theater on March. In addition to military artifacts, works of art by Terry Redlin are also on display. Those interested can visit the exhibition until July 10.
THE MARS — Two years ago, a woman who attended The Browns Patriotic Music show told her military veteran brother that he should come to the Mars for the show because he was a very patriotic person.
This tour resulted in a military exhibit and a Terry Redlin exhibit in the bank vault area on the lower level of the Browns Century Theatre.
“He’s an older, retired man, retired for many years, but he’s not stopping any time soon,” Shelly Brown said. “He put all of his energy into working with honor guards, like an honor guard for a parade, a special program for funerals or burials, things like that.”
About 10 years ago he saw an honor guard of a few soldiers.
“He loved that idea and was inspired by it, so he probably has 50 honor guard displays put together,” she continued.
After last year’s show, he told Shelly she would love his presentation.
Shelly kept him in mind and this spring contacted him to bring the exhibit to Mars.
“He sent me pictures of it and kind of explained it to me in more detail. I said I think it would be something people would really like. It would be inspirational for them and to honor those who have served,” she continued.
So Shelly took a trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul area to pick up exhibits.
The military display includes salutes to approximately 15 veterans ranging from the Civil War to Afghanistan.
On their show, Shelly said: “We are doing a special video and singing the national anthem and so we have the War of 1812, a soldier’s story, a replica gun and helmet, and a little story of Francis Scott Key and how he wrote the song while on the boat.
For each veteran, there’s a photo and details about their military service, including years of service, special awards, and hometown.
Shelly said she picked the ones that were the most interesting, adding that all the guns were replicas.
“Most of them are based on a real person. Sometimes he went to visit their family and the family gave him things. Others he could only research, like Francis Scott Key and a Civil War soldier he chose,” she said.
“We have a chaplain’s stole, a bazooka, a soldier guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a Navy Seal,” she continued.
Shelly said she finds the display most interesting.
“I think the good thing is that I’m inspired to learn more and even learn more about people who have served in our own community,” she explained.
“Even though these people are not from our community, I hope this inspires people to come to our veterans park, or the museum, to learn more about the people who have served over the years,” she said.
Meanwhile, after working on the military exhibit, a trip to South Dakota inspired Michaela Brown to add a Terry Redlin collection to the exhibit.
Last weekend we were in Watertown, South Dakota, which is the birthplace and hometown of Terry Redlin, a famous American painter,” she said. “They have the Redlin Art Center, and I started looking through it, and one of the ladies told me he had an ‘America the Beautiful’ series that he painted a picture for each sentence of the first verse of the song.”
As she walked past the paintings, she thought how nice it would be to be able to display them since the Browns sing the song on their Americana Show.
A quick trip to the gift shop allowed the workers to get the paintings out and pack them up for the trip.
“I bought these paintings and I guess I’m starting an art collection,” Michaela said.
“I’m thrilled to be able to exhibit them and those at the Redlin Art Center were as well. They were just thrilled to have his paintings exhibited, especially a painter so close to home, and obviously he has a love for the land, the “American and the landscape. This series really portrays that,” she explained.
A video by Redlin explains each painting, and its meaning.
“It took him nine years to paint this series. It really is a labor of love,” Michaela said.
The Browns invite visitors to come see the exhibit, which will run until Sunday, July 10, as they have added a show on that date.