Veterans Educational Historic Monument

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Taking Flight: The last image: Icarus

Why Icarus? As I am nearly complete with this painting, the last figure is that of Icarus–from Greek mythology (the image is in the upper right of the painting)

The legend of Icarus and Daedalus has long stood as a metaphor for manned flight. Daedelus, imprisoned on the island of Crete for committing murder, had, while in captivity, fathered a son named Icarus. Eventually Daedalus and Icarus were imprisoned in the Labyrinth, amazed that the Daedalus had designed to keep the Minotaur from devouring humans. Daedalus devised ways to escape from the labyrinth by fashioning wings from feathers and wax. After fixing the wings to Icarus’s back, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the ocean and not too near to the sun so the wings would not become wet nor would they melt from the sun’s heat. Icarus, young and full of life, was thrilled with the freedom the wings had provided him. he soared and looped and then flew too high where the sun melted the binding wax. he fell into the sea while Daedalus successfully escaped to Sicily.

Even though dreams of flying predate the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, the inherent element of technology and the thrill and danger of soaring above landlocked humans apparent in that tale still grips us today.

From the U.S. Air Force, A Complete History


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