The Colorado artist of a mural featuring the Confederate flag has reportedly been asked to paint over it due to political controversy surrounding the flag.
Lee Bowerman, a 72-year-old military veteran from Grand Junction, was commissioned by local donors to paint an American war history mural on the walls of the Colorado Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Although the mural is two years old, complaints about the Confederate flag featured in it have recently started pouring in.
"The decision was made that we would have to modify the painting, so we called the artist and asked him to 'rework' that part of the mural," Paul Sweeney, the Chief of Customer Relations and Public Affairs at the Grand Junction VA, said to Watchdog Arena.
"It was outside of Grand Junction," he added. "It could have been regional or it could have been national."
While he was not able to say how many complaints the mural drew, Sweeney said the decision to paint over the flag was final.
Bowerman has reluctantly agreed to repaint the Confederate flag portion of his mural.
"I'm going to paint what they want painted because we're living in a political environment," Bowerman said to The Daily Sentinel.
"I got black, brown, white, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, POWs and MIAs," Bowerman added, pointing to the extent of his mural. "I got a mule in there with a gas mask on."
Sweeney said the reaction to the mural's pending changes have been mixed.
"To many, this is American history," Sweeney said to Watchdog Arena. "Unfortunately, the symbol of the Confederate flag has been adopted by extremists and it's understandable that some people are troubled."
Gary Parrot, an Air Force veteran, disapproves of the decision to paint over the Confederate flag.
"We don't want to eliminate that history. We need to recognize and learn from it," Parrot said to The Daily Sentinel. "How do you learn from past mistakes if you erase and obliterate them so they never happened?"
A banner is currently covering the Confederate flag portion of the mural until Bowerman paints over it with an American flag.
Photo Credit: Marjorie Haun/Watchdog Arena