AMBOY — Those driving past Veterans Park in Amboy may have noticed two new murals on display.
The new murals are the work of local artist Loreen Mead, and are on the left and right side of Mead’s original mural of a lone solider by a grave with the quote, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers,” which debuted about two years ago.
Mead said that the plan was always to do three murals.
“I’m really proud to do it,” Mead said.
Loreen said it took her about 30 hours to do each mural.
Both Loreen and Jack Mead thanked Joe Dewey, owner of Becker Autobody, for allowing the murals to hang on the side wall of his business, which borders Veterans Park.
Don Dinges, of Sublette, volunteered to do the lettering on the murals.
The mural on the left depicts the Dustoff Medevac Helicopter from Vietnam. Mead said she felt Vietnam veterans needed to be honored. According to warhistoryonline.com, it was during the Vietnam War that the idea of a helicopter ambulance corps was fully developed. This was due to the necessity of using aerial transport to evacuate the wounded in Vietnam, as dictated by the terrain. Since most of the combat activity was in the jungle, roads proved useless even if they were nearby. Ambushes and mines made land routes very unpredictable, for the jungle belonged to the Viet Cong.
Mead’s husband, Jack, who is the Commander of the Amboy American Legion, said that Dustoff pilots had to fight their way into the landzone and that they barely touched down, that’s why they are called Dustoff. According to warhistoryonline.com, the sheer size of a Huey would attract most of the enemy fire, making the evacuation crew an instant target.
Jack said a good friend of his was a Dustoff pilot and if Charlie came in, they had to be ready to take off. Jack said they saved thousands of lives.
The mural on the right depicts a scene from D-Day at Normandy during World War II on June 6, 1944. According to the History.com, Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history. U.S. forces faced heavy resistance at Omaha Beach, where there were over 2,000 American casualties. However, by day’s end, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.
According to some estimates, more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.
Sand from Omaha Beach, Normandy, France surrounds the base of the flagpole in Veterans Park in Amboy. In July 2019, the Amboy American Legion held a ceremony at Veterans Park where Jack and Jim Fredenhagen assisted World War II Veterans Walter “Ted” Fredenhagen, U.S. Marine Corps, and George Mason, U.S. Army-Air Force, as each poured sand from Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, at the base of the flagpole to honor those that served during World War II. Native son, Tom Dempsey, brought the sand back and hoped it would be used to recognize the service personnel that fought and died in the war and on that beach 75 years ago.