An author-illustrator of children’s books and advocate for military families is this year’s Veterans Day poster contest winner.
Matt Tavares, of Ogunquit, Maine, works closely with his publisher, Candlewick Press, to support an organization called United Through Reading. Their mission is to connect military families who are separated – by deployment or military assignment – through the shared experience of reading together.
His design idea for this year’s poster contest theme, the Centennial Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was taken from an illustration he created for a book called Twenty-One Steps.
The design idea for this year’s poster contest theme, the Centennial Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was taken from an illustration for a book called Twenty-One Steps.
Written by Jeff Gottesfeld, the book gives military families an opportunity to learn and share with their children the story behind the dedicated men and women who watch over the tomb 24 hours a day.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1921, to make sure those who made the ultimate sacrifice but were not identified were never forgotten. Soldiers with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” have volunteered to serve as Tomb Guards since 1948. They are selected through a rigorous process and undergo intensive training.
Here’s how Tavares describes his winning entry:
“In this poster, a Tomb Guard carries out his responsibilities with unwavering dedication, alone on the quiet plaza at dawn. There have been Tomb Guards of all races, genders, religion and creeds, so I wanted to keep the identity of this Tomb Guard ambiguous.
By placing the Tomb Guard off to the side I hoped to remind the viewer to look past the sentinel and focus on the tomb itself and the unknown soldiers who died in service to our nation.”
Although not a Veteran, Tavares is proud of his two cousins who served as Army officers, one in the infantry and the other in the Medical Corps.
“I have unlimited respect and admiration for all they have done for our country and our world,” Tavares said.