Fallen veteran and his four-legged friend honored with new statue in D.C.

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 5:44 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Navy Sailor John Douangdara lost his life far too soon. Now his legacy, and his trusted companion’s, will live on indefinitely in Washington D.C.

This Veterans Day, more than 10 years after John Douangdara’s helicopter came under fire in Afghanistan, the U.S Navy Memorial unveiled a statue depicting his “Service and Sacrifice.”

John will stand permanently holding his rifle to his heart with one hand, and patting the back of his service dog Bart with other. The war fields of Afghanistan are pictured in the background.

And there’s no honor more fitting according Chan Follen, John’s sister.

“He loved Bart, he loved all of his animals,” she said. “He found his passion working with animals.”

But she noted the sculpture is not just a tribute to her brother and his companion. Susan Bahary, the creator, crafted it will all men, women and K9 Sailors in mind.

“It’s just wonderful to try to bring to life the essence of a really special person- and of course it represents all the members of the sea services, past present and future, and our military working dog team,” Bahary said.

This Veterans Day, as we honor this who have served, Chan celebrates John through pain and joy, and hopes, with this piece of art, others can reflect on what “service and sacrifice” truly look like.

“He served and sacrificed and that’s just what we want his legacy to be,” Follen said.

Many of John’s family members, as well as several service dogs on duty, were in attendance for the ceremony.

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