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Gary Brazina, MD, FACS

Dr. Gary Brazina feels indebted not only to the Vietnam veterans who fought while he was in college, but also to all the soldiers, medics and surgeons who have served our country. Their work on the battlefield improved the techniques for treating extremity wounds back at home, says Dr. Brazina, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist practicing in Los Angeles. “The sacrifices these men and women made while in the service earned and continues to earn, and deserve, my undying respect and gratitude. I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to our soldiers through my art,” he says.

A Tree of Life

72 x 36 x 36 in.

Metal Sculpture

Inspired by a biblical proverb, Dr. Brazina created a ”tree of life” to illustrate his deep feelings about the sacrifices soldiers, medics and surgeons must make in times of war. One half of the steel sculpture represents a living tree – in bloom and full of life, suggestive of those who benefit from the military’s efforts. The other half of the sculpture is a barren and stunted branch, which has been draped with a flag and helmet to represent young soldiers whose lives have been cut short or who have suffered severe injuries. The prosthetic leg underneath the stunted tree serves as a visceral reminder of the true horror of war wounds, Dr. Brazina says. ”It drives home that war is real and real people suffer.”