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Highest Honor Revealed

Highest Honor facts

↑ There’s a new installation in the Torpedo Factory, and it’s pretty hard to miss, no matter which floor you’re on.

If you’ve been following along with the creation of Highest Honor, you know that it’s a monumental version of the “E” award presented to the workers here during World War II. Artist Andy Yoder, who specializes in site-specific sculpture, conceived and spearheaded the project — his first experience with papermaking, as he revealed Friday night.

Highest Honor was unveiled that night as part of our Veterans Day events, which also recognized the IMPart participants and their exhibit open through November 30. Many IMPart artists also volunteered time to contribute to the banner. (IMPart stands for Injured Military Personnel + Art.)

A worker at the Naval Torpedo Station lubricates a torpedo propeller during World War II. (Photo from the collection of George L. Dant, copyright the Naval History and Heritage Command.)
A worker at the Naval Torpedo Station lubricates a torpedo propeller during World War II. (Photo from the collection of George L. Dant, copyright the Naval History and Heritage Command.)

Highest Honor was as much about the process as the finished installation. It brought together dozens of collaborators, including veterans, artists, and passersby — which was the point. It was intended to bring the collaborative spirit of the wartime factory to our present-day community. Veteran collaborators also contributed personal materials to the banner: the wreath, for example, is made from Stars & Stripes newspapers from the first Gulf War.

Here’s Highest Honor by the numbers:

  • 914 squares of handmade paper (made from military hospital scrubs)
  • over 30 volunteer collaborators
  • 25 feet tall
  • six months from start to finish

Catch the installation in the main atrium of the Torpedo Factory through November 30!

Andy Yoder with Highest Honor.
Andy Yoder with Highest Honor.

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