“The Fallen Soldier” Sculpture by Richard Rist by: J. Sherrod Taylor
The Fallen Soldier, also known as “The Heart of a Patriot,” is dedicated to the memory of Sergeant Ian Christian Anderson (January 8, 1985 - January 15, 2007) who was killed in action by a roadside bomb in Mosul, Iraq, while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was twenty-two years old.
“The Fallen Soldier” Sculpture by Richard Rist 7700 Mission Rd., Prairie Village, KS
Sergeant Anderson, who grew up in Prairie Village, was a member of the 2d Battalion, 7th U.S. Cavalry, an Army Unit headquartered at Fort Bliss, Texas. At the time of the fatal explosion, he was on his second tour of duty in the Middle East.
Anderson’s wife, Suzanne, also served in the same military unit. According to the Washington Post, before leaving for Iraq, the Andersons entrusted their 3-year-old daughter, Lilian, to Suzanne’s parents for their scheduled one-year deployment period.
Sergeant Anderson attended Shawnee Mission East High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2003. He was a member of the Bethany Lutheran Church. During his leisure time, he enjoyed playing soccer, caring for wildlife, and being outdoors with his family. An accomplished ‘computer gamer,’ Anderson had planned to later pursue a career in computer technology.
The Fallen Soldier sculpture was designed by Baltimore artist Richard Rist, a U.S. Navy veteran, whose studio, The Large Art Company, specializes in creating public art for families that have lost loved ones during wartime. Standing approximately forty-five inches high and resting upon a flat concrete pad, the impressive sculpture, which is cast in high-quality bronze, features boots, a rifle, and a helmet arranged as a traditional ‘Battlefield Cross.’ A handsome bronze plaque, attached to this artwork, confirms that Sergeant Anderson was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart medals for his heroism.
The Fallen Soldier was donated by Sergeant Anderson’s family and dedicated in 2015. Anderson’s wife Suzanne and daughter Lily attended the ceremony. Sergeant Anderson’s father John, mother Elaine, and sister Ellen, joined Suzanne’s parents Debbie and Terry Mason for the event commemorating Anderson’s service and recognizing other fallen soldiers from our community.
The Fallen Soldier is an excellent example of public art that enriches our knowledge of history and enhances our appreciation of the sacrifices made by fellow citizens to protect our freedom.
Located on the Prairie Village Municipal Grounds 7700 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS