Discover Copper Online

Winter 2004

Commemoration in Copper

Bill Deane is using copper to honor all the allied soldiers killed in Iraq. He's created an eightfoot- tall tree made entirely of copper. The leaves are each engraved with the name of a dead U.S. or coalition soldier. Starting with just a few branches, he's since added several more and now displays more than 1,100 leaves. The tree, which he works on and keeps in his garage, is so well known in his home town, Papillon, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha, that children come by to ask when he's going to complete it. His hopeful answer is "Soon!"

Bill Deane with his commemorative copper tree dedicated to all soldiers lost in Iraq.
Each of over 1,100 leaves on this copper tree bears the name and age of an allied soldier lost in Iraq.

To make the leaves, Deane cuts each one from a sheet of 16-ounce copper, facets it with a hammer, reads the biography of a dead soldier, and then engraves the last name and age on the leaf. Deane, a metalsmith, uses scrap copper donated by his employer, Sol Lewis Engineering, and by other shops in the area.

Recently, the tree has taken on a new meaning for Deane and his wife, because Shawn Humphrey, Deane's 26-year-old stepson, is now serving with his Army unit in Iraq.

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