LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — A new mural, installed in Loves Park, is dedicated to the men and women who fought overseas.
Students at Boylan Catholic High School painted the mural at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9759, at 2018 Windsor Road.
“We even painted the building so it looks really nice with our paint job on the building, because we were excited to get it,” said Ret. U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran James Hughes.
When Hughes was 17, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force in 1964. As a Vietnam veteran, he’s one of the many vets being honored by the mural.
“I think this is something that keeps this post alive, and I think the general public will enjoy the view of it,” he said.
It took 20 students over five months to complete the art project.
Missy Minardi, Art Department Chair at Boylan, described the mural, saying, “To the left side is Vietnam-era, and as you go toward the right, it’s present day…The three gentlemen in the front, the Honor Guard, are actually portraits of members at this post, so we really tried to make it personal for the men here.”
Former members of the military say the painting illustrates their experience.
“It really shows exactly the things that we went through. It just brings back, basically, a lot of the history, ’cause there’s a lot of history up there,” said Retired Army Officer Ken Seay.
Seay says he didn’t speak about his time in Vietnam for 25 years after he came home. Now, he says tributes, like the mural, make his service worth it.
“It’s nice to be appreciated because, like I said, the Vietnam veterans didn’t come back as a very well liked person,” he said.
The mural will be officially dedicated to the men and women at the post in time for the 4th of July.