By: Emily Johnson
January 12, 2014
Tallahassee, FL - The number one movie at the box office this weekend has a local tie to Tallahassee. Lone Survivor is a movie based on a true story of Operation Redwings. A Navy SEALs team failed mission to kill a Taliban leader. On June 28, 2005, 19 servicemen were killed in Afghanistan, nine Navy SEALs and eight Night Stalkers with one lone survivor. Marcus Luttrell was the lone survivor who went on to tell his story.
Donna Axelson, the mother of Matthew Axelson, one of the Navy SEALs killed contacted Tallahassee native and bronze artist, Sandy Proctor, and asked him if he could create a memorial for her son. "A week later I was in California, which was kind of the beginning of how all of this got started," Proctor
Proctor then began the process of sculpting the bronze. The two men depicted are Sgt2 Matthew Axelson of Cupertino, CA, and QM2 James Shu of Deerfield, FL. Proctor said he made sure every finite detail of a SEALs uniform was correct in the memorial. "They brought the weapons out, they brought them to Los Angeles where we did some digital scanning of them so that would be correct," said Proctor.
Proctor is a monumental sculptor who is nationally known for his work. He has been commissioned to make several famous bronzes including the Bobby Bowden bronze at Doak Campbell. Proctor said that this memorial had a deeper impact than his other works. "It was tremendous, it really was. The contacts and they're still friends, and I talked to the mother of the Axelson kid last night," said Proctor.
It took Proctor a little more than a year to complete the project. "The Guardians" memorial now sits in the Veterans Memorial Park in Cupertino, California.