Great America I

A Tribute To American Heroes

Originally A Tribute to American Heroes

Great America I

“A Tribute to American Heroes”

By Sam Welty
Originally painted on the west facing wall of the Flagship Inn on the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in September 2002. Sam created this monument to acknowledge the sacrifices of the local military personnel and their families. For years it stood a reminder to locals and tourists alike that the freedom and safety they enjoy does indeed come at a high price paid by people just like them. The mural was reimagined and painted again in 2014 as an ongoing tribute to the men and women of the United States military and the strong connections they have in the local community.

Painted Over

By mid-November, 2016, the Hotel had become a part of the Howard Johnson franchise for a local resort management company. The decision was made during maintenance to cover this icon of the Virginia Beach oceanfront with a layer of primer and gray paint.

Though statements were made assuring the outraged community that their intent had always been to restore the mural after the maintenance was completed, within months the decision was made to leave the nearly 12,000 sq.ft. wall in it’s clean, yet uninspiring current condition. The search was on for a new home for this visual representation of the people’s commitment to the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our way of life.

Videos from 2014

A video from 2002