Skip to comments.Vetetans Protest Student Mural's Pairing U.S., Mexican Flags
Posted on 11/13/2001 9:23:12 AM PST by healey22
Monday, November 12, 2001 - Maria Chavez painted a mural on her high school wall last spring that was intended to promote unity - within families, at school, in communities and between nations. But that mural has recently sparked some disunity.
Chavez's mural depicting the Delta High School panther mascot between two flags - the Stars and Stripes and the banner of Mexico - has raised a protest from some veterans because the two flags are given equal representation. When facing the mural, they say, the American flag should be on the left rather than the right, and the American flag should be larger or somehow more prominent.
At least one vet doesn't believe the Mexican flag belongs there at all.
"My main gripe is some foreign flag taking the same prestigious position in a school as the American flag. A foreign flag doesn't belong in our schools in a permanent mural," said World War II veteran John Sukle.
Chavez, 18, said she never dreamed she would be creating controversy when she painted the flag on a hallway wall at the school for her senior art project. Chavez was a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens, a national organization with local chapters in schools, so she painted a mural that would represent the league's ideals.
"I never intended to do anything to make people offended. That's so not me," said Chavez, who now attends the Delta Montrose Voc-Tech School.
There was no offense taken until Sukle recently saw a photograph of the mural in a local newspaper and contacted the American Legion Post 65 in Delta.
Gordon O'Brien, commander of the post, met with school officials, Chavez and some other members of the league last week.
"We weren't upset. We just brought it to their attention," O'Brien said.
Chavez agreed to paint gold fringe on the American flag to make it look larger. School officials also decided to place a plaque in the front of the mural explaining the goals of the League of United Latin American Citizens and Chavez's motivation for painting the mural.
Chavez said she wanted to show understanding, cooperation and unity of two nations in a school where nearly 20 percent of the students are Hispanic. The plaque will say: "Working together as a family, school, community and as a country to make a difference in our youth."
That settled the matter as far as most people were concerned.
Not Sukle, though.
Sukle, 89, said he fought in four key World War II battles. He helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp. And he is not going to back down from defending the honor of his flag now.
"I intend to fight on. I don't mind yelling as loud as I can," Sukle said. "Too many people don't understand what our flag stands for."
School Superintendent Bill Carlquist said Friday that he understands that the flag means different things to different people.
He said the school's 30 or so members of the Latin League are very patriotic: They recite the Pledge of Allegiance before every meeting and handed out miniature flags in the school after Sept. 11. He said the group promotes leadership, community service and the importance of education.
Carlquist said he can also understand the veterans' deep-seated feelings about proper protocol for display of the flag.
Carlquist contacted school attorneys for advice and delved into the details of the U.S. flag code. They found that there are no rules specifically addressing flags in murals. The district, however, agreed to make changes that would satisfy the majority of the American Legion members.
No one, including Sukle, knows what his continuing protest will lead to.
Carlquist said right now he considers the entire matter a good learning experience for students.
"It's been a great civics lesson," he said.
If everyone goes around looking for offense rather than solutions, this country will have serious problems. Find the common ground and work from there. Obviously, this artist loves the American flag, but also loves her culture. I for one am glad that the club does recite the Pledge of Allegience at every meeting. Believe me, most do not.
No it's not. It's a crotchety old man with nothing better to do. The LULAC people clearly did not mean to offend or disrespect. They're going to make the US flag more prominent. They're researching proper usage. They're attempting to please the American Legion. What else do you want?
As for you, "proud patriot," there are plenty of good Americans who came from that "hellhole," who manage to take pride in it as they do in their adopted homeland. Mexico isn't the greatest country on the planet -- that's the United States -- but it deserves a great deal more respect than you're showing it.
Specially the ones who conquered so much land from mexico. Was the denver area part of the spoils of that war?
As do all the "crotchety old men" who've won our freedom for us.
Well I disagree. This is a United States tax payer funded school and I really don't recall the government of Mexico chipping in to fund our schools. In fact, we are educating a large population of illegal aliens from Mexico for free. Should we send the bill to Vincente Fox?
The good part is that it was done in innocence. Another good part is that there is intent to rectify and comply w/ proper flag etiquette.
Look, I served in the Armed Forces too. Veteran's status does not equal sainthood.
I'll give credit where credit is due. This guy is acting like, I repeat, a crotchety old man. Valiant service in World War Two doesn't affect that.
And what does that have to do with anything? Has it occurred to you that the display of another nation's flag does not equate to disloyalty to the United States? Especially when it's being made clear that the US flag is superior to and holds a place of honor above that other flag?
This is a pointless and utterly manufactured "controversy." Perhaps we should send a check, as per your suggestion, to pay for the German naval units that flew the American flag after 11 September. Or to the British army units that played "The Star-Spangled Banner." Absurd.
Oh, great ... next will come the black students wanting a mural to depict the African National Unity flag and then ... where does it end?
There shouldn't be anything depicted in taxpayer supported public schools except depictions of the American flag. Is that too much to ask? If they're so in love with a foreign culture, then they have no reason being here in the United States.
Not at all: it's a supplement to it. Is accusing me of a "failure of reasoning" some sort substitute [sic] for trying to refute mine?
I'll leave it to you to actually read the article, pick out Sukle's single relevant statement, and then return to the postings to see where I've addressed it on its own merits in full.
I breathlessly await your revelation as to what this has to do with the situation at hand.
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