I want to share a surprise painting that Morag Michael (my wife) presented to our Legion post (Daddow-Isaacs 672, Dallas, Pa.) on Memorial Day. We had just participated in our post-COVID Memorial Day parade from the post grounds to the center of Dallas, and returned to the post home. There we were surprised with a painting that depicted an array of activities our post was and is engaged in (parades, honor guard activities, Legion Riders, rifle squad, cemetery speeches, Auxiliary, etc.)
The painting was done by Back Mountain celebrated artist Sue Hand. The scenes were selected from 25 photos taken by Post Legion Rider Clark Van Orden. Sue was reluctant at first, since she did not paint portraits or people. However, she conceded that she loved parades. She loved American flags, the beat of the drum, the growl of the fire engines! She loved the roar of the motorcycles, patriotic pride and the Dallas Memorial Day Parade. And she always loved a good secret. She arranged all the pieces onto a small piece of layout paper, then arranged all the pieces until the "composition" worked and then sketched them on a larger sheet of drawing paper. Satisfied, she again drew the entire composition onto a large sheet of watercolor paper. Then in the quiet of her studio, she took a deep breath and flooded pale reds, blues and golden yellows over the entire surface. When that dried, she slowly added color from left to right, top to bottom, in 10 or more layers, adding trees, grass, shadows, flags, badges, patches and people. She particularly loved painting the eagles on the backs of the Legion Riders. The entire painting took over 100 hours to complete.
Thanks to Morag's vision and generosity, the painting was presented following the Dallas Memorial Day Parade to honor the men and women of Dallas Daddow-Isaacs Post 672. Colored copies were presented to all members who were present, and additional copies were left at the post home for other members.
In addition, a good friend, Amy Kuiken of Dallas, created a certificate to go with the painting. In beautiful calligraphy she listed some of the American Legion values and titled it “The Spirit of the Legion.” These two gifts are welcome additions to the memorabilia in the post home. The entire project was featured in the June edition of Inside The Back Mountain magazine.