Officials at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Colorado want the Confederate battle flag completely removed from a mural.
The Grand Junction medical facility features a mural of the Civil War painted by 72-year-old artist Lee Bowerman and shows a Confederate and Union soldier staring each other down. Bowerman thinks the decision to remove the flag is unfortunate, but has agreed to do as officials ask. In the meantime, officials have placed a banner to cover part of the display until Bowerman has time to finish the job and remove the offensive elements.
“I’m going to paint what they want painted because we’re living in a political environment,” said Bowerman told The Daily Sentinel.
Bowerman, however, still thinks that the mural was already inclusive.
“I got black, brown, white, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, POWs and MIAs,” Bowerman said. “I got a mule in there with a gas mask on.” Apparently, that wasn’t enough to satisfy officials.
The VA reportedly heard complaints about the mural following the June 17 shooting in Charleston, but at the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center, it has taken almost two months to reach a decision and implement the change.
Just a week after the shooting, the U.S. Army issued a public response, saying that it would not rename bases to remove the association with Confederate generals. The idea behind the Army’s refusal is that the generals are honored for their individual character, not for their involvement in the Confederates States of America.
According to Air Force veteran Gary Parrott, the VA is “altering history” through its decision to erase the battle flag.