Today, on the 75th anniversary of #VEDay we honor and thank the veterans that sacrificed for our freedom, helping to build a better world.
Pictured below is a silkscreen from NVAM’s permanent collection titled “Big Bird Cage” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Vonnegut enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He was sent to Europe with the 106th Infantry Division and quickly found himself fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Later he was captured by German soldiers and taken to a prison camp near Dresden. During that time, Vonnegut lived in a slaughterhouse. By the end of May, 1945, Vonnegut returned to the U.S. where he continued his military service at Fort Riley, Kansas. Before he was discharged from the U.S. Army, he received a Purple Heart for frostbite.
Initially the image of an empty bird cage was inspired by the story of Trout and Bill in his novel “Breakfast of Champions.” Later though, it became a personal symbol for Vonnegut. When he passed away and his website was temporarily shut down, the cage held its place.
It is a hopeful image— an image of freedom. It reminds us that there is something worth wishing for, and that we can all work to improve the world around us.