American heroes now have a more attractive place to gather.
Youngsville American Legion Post 658 recently unveiled a new mural painted by local artist Suz Haupin at its headquarters. It marks the second such mural she has painted there, with the first coming in 2002.
"I wanted to do it for a lot of reasons," Haupin said. "It's mostly because I admire the Legion in Youngsville and what they do and contribute to the community and country. They're a great group of men and women."
Photo submitted for publication
The newly-completed mural at Youngsville American Legion Post 658 was unveiled recently. Seated from left to right are David VanHouten, Dick Bower, Ray Niedrick, mural artist Suz Haupin, Pat Walters, Jim DeVore, and Frank Schmitt.
According to Haupin, she was more than glad to do the work. The Legion does more than she knew it did and it was also her town she was helping.
After being a set painter and designer years ago, Haupin said she was asked to paint the original mural when the Legion building was new. She had just gotten back into painting and found researching war sort of depressing.
While painting the murals, Haupin said she had difficulty since she didn't know about guns or weapons. Legion members provided her with a list of them and she also did research in books for the first mural and then the Internet for the second one.
"I tried to portray certain feelings about the wars, and that was a hard thing," Haupin said. "I talked with waitresses who work at the Legion who have sons serving or who did and now have disabilities and are trying to go to school. It all goes with what they're doing and that was my main motivation."
The first mural was painted on the back wall, Haupin said, and depicted World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After redoing the kitchen, she said the group had a new empty wall and asked her to fill that one with scenes from the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War.
In the new mural, Haupin said she showed how U.S. forces arrived in Kuwait by ship during the Gulf War and the burning oil fields there. Next came the attacks on the World Trade Center, she said, and the statue of Saddam Hussein coming down in Iraq. It also depicts the rocky terrain of Afghanistan and the death of Osama bin Laden.
Even though she was alive for those wars, Haupin said some of the equipment she included looked bizarre to her. She cited the drones especially as seeming to be from outer space.
To complete the latest mural, Haupin said she spent over 300 hours not including time spent thinking about the project. At the age of 67, she said she was on scaffolding a lot.
"I love it, but it is work and a struggle," Haupin said. "It's not the most pleasurable thing ever."
In the future, Haupin said she has plans to paint murals for restaurants. She said she hopes to work on smaller projects closer to the ground.
"We're far from done, but I hope there won't be another war for me to depict," Haupin said. "I'd be more than glad to never paint another picture of war. I'd rather paint the flag, the eagle and other positive things."