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Input given for World War II mural project

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Input given for World War II mural project

World War II veterans Harold Rundberg, left, and Walter Brandhorst provide input on the mural design.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED January 31, 2014 1:44 a.m.

At age 98, Joe Martinez was the oldest member from “The Greatest Generation” at Thursday’s Manteca Mural Society brainstorming session.

During World War II, he worked at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. But his four brothers served their country not to mention his son, grandsons and now great grandson. Altogether 14 immediate family members were in the military.

Martinez, who has lived in Manteca for the past 31 years – he’s originally from San Francisco – received a call not too long ago from the Mural Society, asking for his input on the next big project.

“I think they were interested in what I had to say since I had family members who were veterans of World War II,” he said at the meeting held at Manteca Transit Center.

Nearly two dozen were in attendance. Included were Mural Society’s Norm Knodt (president), Tom Wilson (mural coordinator), Charlene Carroll (vice president), Ron Cruz (mural liaison to the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War) and Terri Pasquini (mural artist / Artistic Criteria Committee member).

“This will be a real challenge,” said Wilson, who indicated that elements based on input from this meeting will be placed on the 16-foot-wide by 20-foot-high mural behind the Bedquarters wall on Main Street near Yosemite Avenue.

He and Knodt indicated that previous murals were made possible in part by funding from the defunct-Redevelopment Agency. “We’ll have to rely on donations and fundraisers (for the World War II mural),” said Knodt.

Best case scenario, according to Wilson, is the next 12 months to develop the plans, from the drawing board to the actual work.

“The Manteca Mural Society is an all-volunteer organization. So we move at a snail’s pace because we all have busy lives,” he said, apologetically.

Funds are earmarked for the conceptual drawing, with the total cost estimated at $25,000.

The group did consist of World War II veterans. Many favored placing the branches of the service represented – in this case, Army, Navy, Marines, Merchant Marines, and Coast Guards (Air Force was the Army Air Corps back then) – on the mural along with possibly WWII slogans, G.I. Joes, and turning points, from the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, to the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Rocky Wilson of the McFall-Grisham American Legion Post 249 would like to see the WWII “honor roll” panel included on the wall.

Others hope to see civilians, including women, who made personal sacrifices for the war cause, along with the chaplains.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C., was also mentioned for the mural.

“All the input here will go towards the finished product,” said Tom Wilson, who added that plenty of film footage on World War II is available.

The World War II mural will be located next to the completed one on the Global War on Terror. After that, the Mural Society will turn its attention on the Korean War or the Forgotten War, followed, in this order, by the Vietnam War and World War I.

Emblems of the military branches and, ultimately, bronze plaques, will be placed vertically next to the murals once all five projects are completed, Wilson said.

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