Home / #VetResources, Honoring Vets, Top Stories / Winning design selected in the 2021 Veterans Day poster contest

Winning design selected in the 2021 Veterans Day poster contest

Veterans Day 2021 poster contest winner

An author-illustrator of children’s books and advocate for military families is this year’s Veterans Day poster contest winner.

Matt Tavares, of Ogunquit, Maine, works closely with his publisher, Candlewick Press, to support an organization called United Through Reading. Their mission is to connect military families who are separated – by deployment or military assignment – through the shared experience of reading together.

His design idea for this year’s poster contest theme, the Centennial Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was taken from an illustration he created for a book called Twenty-One Steps.

The design idea for this year’s poster contest theme, the Centennial Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was taken from an illustration for a book called Twenty-One Steps.

Written by Jeff Gottesfeld, the book gives military families an opportunity to learn and share with their children the story behind the dedicated men and women who watch over the tomb 24 hours a day.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1921, to make sure those who made the ultimate sacrifice but were not identified were never forgotten. Soldiers with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” have volunteered to serve as Tomb Guards since 1948. They are selected through a rigorous process and undergo intensive training.

Here’s how Tavares describes his winning entry:

“In this poster, a Tomb Guard carries out his responsibilities with unwavering dedication, alone on the quiet plaza at dawn. There have been Tomb Guards of all races, genders, religion and creeds, so I wanted to keep the identity of this Tomb Guard ambiguous.

By placing the Tomb Guard off to the side I hoped to remind the viewer to look past the sentinel and focus on the tomb itself and the unknown soldiers who died in service to our nation.”

Although not a Veteran, Tavares is proud of his two cousins who served as Army officers, one in the infantry and the other in the Medical Corps.

“I have unlimited respect and admiration for all they have done for our country and our world,” Tavares said.

Download the Poster

Share this story

Published on Jul. 7, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 1,183


  1. Daron Cassler July 22, 2021 at 5:52 am

    keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jesse Oldham Jr July 16, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Great Memorial Day poster. Not so suitable for Veteran’s Day. Veterans Day should focus on the living just as Memorial Day is for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. You would think the VA would understand this. Still a great looking poster though.

  3. Thomas W Baker July 15, 2021 at 8:51 am

    The poster is very good but inappropriate for the observance of the day to recognize and salute LIVING VETERANS.
    This poster should be used for the MEMORIAL DAY observance, the day to recognize and salute DECEASED VETERANS.

    Of all the federal government agencies, the leadership and every team member should know the difference between the purpose and objectives of these two
    national observances. For all military Veterans and their families, please pay attention to details like this because the civilian population is confused by this type of miscommunication.

  4. Brian L Goldbeck July 8, 2021 at 7:41 am

    How can I obtain this poster? Like to also donate posters to a nearby college and elementary school.

  5. John Caskinette July 8, 2021 at 1:35 am

    When was this Veterans Day poster contest held? How does one get information on such contest? I get Vantage point e-mails but I didn’t get anything on this! The winning piece is very beautiful, is it a watercolor.

    [Editor: It was announced in February: https://news.va.gov/84756/2021-national-veterans-day-poster-contest-open-submissions/ ]

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • The PACT Act will help VA provide health care and benefits to millions of toxic-exposed Veterans and their survivors. Veterans have already begun to apply for the benefits.

  • More than 821,000 Veterans who want the convenience of an easy app on their smartphones are downloading VA’s Health and Benefits mobile app.

  • Volunteers of America is offering Veterans free access to an online program that allows them to share their stories of moral injury and to connect with and support other Veterans.

Go to Top