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Raising the Flag: Ohio Memorial Mural Pays Tribute to Veterans

Friday, April 13, 2012

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A 700-foot mural depicting an iconic American photograph—“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”—affixed to a downtown Amherst, Ohio, office building, serves as a memorial to honor the men and women who have served and are currently serving the U.S. armed forces.

Helping to make the project a reality—and ensure its color quality and long-term visual appeal—were donations of high-strength, high-performance paint colors and coatings from several companies, including The Sherwin-Williams Company and SEAL-KRETE.

Photos by David Wilding

Artist Michael Sekletar’s rendering of the historic flag raising during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

Artist Michael Sekletar dreamed of reproducing Joe Rosenthal’s 1945 iconic frozen frame of five U.S. Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag atop the Mount Suribachi summit during World War II, in the small Ohio town.

Sekletar’s dream became reality in 2011, when the city approved the project and a local attorney offered the side of his downtown office building as the backdrop for the artwork.

According to the mural project’s Facebook page description, the artist wanted to “perfect the mural to resemble the photo as closely as possible as far as realism is concerned.”

Sekletar and fellow artist Ryan Shannon completed the installation on the brick and concrete wall in 500 hours in the fall of 2011. 

“To be able to do something like this for our veterans is an honor and a privilege,” said Sekletar.

Creation of the Wall to Honor

A variety of products were donated for the mural project. Michael Beltz, an account executive with Sherwin-Williams Diversified Brands helped the artists to secure donations.

One of the products used to create the mural was Resilience™ Exterior Acrylic Latex, manufactured by The Sherwin-Williams Company. According to product literature, the paint is low-VOC and is formulated with Moisture Guard™ Technology to deliver moisture resistance 50% faster than conventional paints.

Also, Purdy® professional applicators and Georgian Artists’ Oil Colours from Winsor & Newton and Daler Rowney were used.

In order to protect the work of art, Beltz approached the local SEAL-KRETE representatives, The Stallings Group, for product donations.

The artists sealed the mural using SEAL-KRETE’s Dura-Shell Clear Coat, a two-component, water-based urethane system is reported to offer a high gloss finish in a low-VOC formula.

Because of the outdoor placement, the mural required a “durable coating that would withstand seasonal temperature changes, sun exposure and wind-driven rain and snow,” St. Louis, Mo.-based SEAL-KRETE said.

Another important consideration was protection against possible vandalism; an “anti-graffiti” coating was necessary to seal the mural.

After consulting with Beltz on the project details, The Stallings Group recommended that the artists seal the mural using Dura-Shell Clear Coat, a two-component, water-based urethane system is reported to offer a high gloss finish in a low-VOC formula.

“The coating system is formulated for preservation and protection and will stand up to the performance requirements of the mural’s environment,” said Greg Stallings, owner of The Stallings Group. He added that the product exhibits a “high tolerance for moisture and temperature extremes and also protects from graffiti and the potential wear of people touching the painted surface.”

In addition, the company says the product does not react to oil paint, which also figured into its specification for the mural.

Salute to Veterans

Dedication of the mural occurred during a ceremony held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2011. Hundreds of community members and veterans were in attendance.

SEAL-KRETE said that as the “Star-Spangled Banner” played, Marine Corps members raised a flag over the memorial, evoking the memorable event on Iwo Jima as U.S. forces fought courageously to subdue Japan in the Pacific. 

During the ceremony, Ohio state Senator Gayle Manning honored the artists and the city. A 21-gun salute from the Amherst Military Honor Guard Marine Corps concluded the dedication.
“The Iwo Jima mural is very important to our community; it’s gratifying to know that a product we recommended will help preserve it,” said Stallings.
A plaque placed on the mural by the artists reads, “We will never forget the courage, honor and sacrifice of the men and women who served our country for our freedom.”


Tagged categories: Anti-graffiti coatings; Murals; Purdy; Sealers; SEAL-KRETE; Sherwin-Williams

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