In the San Joaquin Valley of the State of California sits an average size city of Manteca. This city’s support for their Veterans is second to none, and McFall Grisham Post 249 has been a proud part of this city since 1921.
6 years ago an artist named Jessie Marinas approached the city of Manteca, McFall Grisham and the Local VFW Post 6311 about painting a mural to honor the service members in the War on Terror. It was met with open arms by all parties and soon a location at 115 W. Yosemite Ave in Manteca, CA was selected.
Members of the American Legion and VFW took on the job of creating the massive 20 foot tall 16 foot wide frames and canvases needed for the artist and mounting them on the side of the building. They also created special lighting to illuminate the mural at night. The mural was then created titled “Eagle Hearts” and was unveiled on November 11th 2013. It represents soldiers from all branches of the service in a circle remembering the ones lost.
The city loved the mural so much that they felt all wars that the United States of America participated in should be represented. The city, along with the Post, helped start a Veterans’ mural committee and started asking artists to present their mural submissions. Every mural was checked by local veterans and the veterans’ ideas and feedback to accuracy were used in many cases. The committee also felt it would be a good touch to display portraits of veterans from Manteca in each mural from here on.
The next mural took two years. It was created by Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, and it was titled “Spirit of America”. It was dedicated to the men and women of WWII. This mural has a portrait of one of our Post’s namesakes, Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Kenneth Floyd Grisham. It was unveiled on July 4th 2015. This mural showed the United States’ power and efforts by everyone, including women working in factories making tools of combat to protect their loved ones abroad. It depicts old glory blowing in the wind and a Navy pilot showing the tail of his plane shot off on a raid.
The next mural was created by Art Mortimer and was titled “The Forgotten War”. It was dedicated to the men and women of the Korean War and was unveiled on May 21st 2016. From here on, the committee decided to unveil the murals on or around Memorial Day to pay respect to the fallen heroes. This shows the start of the jet age in air combat, the conditions met by the soldiers, and the introduction of the helicopter in combat.
The next mural was created by Echo Westover and Linda Shrader and it was titled “Welcome Home Warrior”. It was dedicated to the men and women of the Vietnam War and was unveiled on May 20th 2017. With the POW MIA flag blowing in the wind, it will always make you remember the missing in action. A copy of the Vietnam Wall on the bottom lets you remember the fallen never to come home to their loved ones again.
The final mural was created by E.E. Yates and D.S. Gordon, and they titled it “Zero Hour”. It was dedicated to the men of WWI and was unveiled on May 19th 2018 to a crowd of over 200. This mural contained a portrait of Post 249’s other namesake, Army Sgt. Hope McFall, and completed the mural project. This shows early combat with trench warfare, the start of the air plane being used in combat, and carrier pigeons being used to send messages back to the rear command post.
We have conducted a lot of internet searching, and to date have not been able to locate any other mural project in the country either to this size or representing all 5 wars on one wall. McFall Grisham Post 249, VFW Post 6311, and the City of Manteca are very proud of this mural. Now finished, it stands 20” tall and over 90” long. The final touch will be installed later this year and it will be painted logos for all 5 branches of service on the left side of the wall.
Those who served in all wars will be remembered and honored by loved ones and from around the world. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13