A veteran painted a beautifully illustrated depiction of American war history on walls in the canteen in the Grand Junction, Colorado Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Watchdog reported that the mural was created by military veteran and painter, Lee Bowerman, whom local donors commissioned to do the work on behalf of the veterans served at the Western Colorado facility. Spanning all American wars, from the Revolutionary War, to present conflicts in the Middle East, the mural is a reverent reminder of generations of heroes who sacrificed all in the cause of freedom.
Recently, the Civil War portion of the mural was blocked by a tall poster, after complaints were issued about an image of the Confederate flag. In an Aug. 13 interview with Watchdog Arena, Paul Sweeney, Chief of Customer Relations and Public Affairs at the Grand Junction VA, indicated that he did not know how many complaints came in about the Confederate flag, but that the decision to cover the image was firm.
“The decision was made that we would have to modify the painting, so we called the artist and asked him to ‘rework’ that part of the mural,” Sweeney said. He told Watchdog Arena that artist Lee Bowerman agreed to make the changes and that the current Confederate flag would be repainted as an American flag.
When asked about who directed the ‘reworking’ of the mural, Sweeney claimed that the decision was not made locally. “It was outside of Grand Junction. It could have been regional or it could have been national,” he stated. He said he did not know how complaints made locally about the Confederate flag would have filtered up to higher levels within the V.A.
According to Sweeney, the artist quoted a “reasonable” figure of around $200 to cover and repaint the controversial portion of the mural. “I think we did the right thing in asking him [Bowerman] to come in and redo the work. It’s his vision, it’s his inspiration,” Sweeney said.
Lee Bowerman is a visionary who looks at blank walls and sees possibilities. A wine cellar with rows of barrels, receding into the darkness, the ruins of an old mansion with the ghost image of the husband and wife. Horses and wagon depicting the day she insisted that he take her back to Saint Luis because she couldn’t stand the solitude.
While Lee was stationed on a Nike missile base in Germany during the cold war; he studied under Norman Rockwell, Albert Dorn, and a dozen others by correspondence via the Famous Artists School. After discharge in 1960, and a couple of years of bumming around the US; he returned to Grand Junction and entered Mesa college to study Art and Psychology on the GI Bill.
HT to my good friends at Americas Freedom Fighters