Marines and Scottsdale residents gathered for the unveiling of the Marine Week Phoenix mural at the Scottsdale Civic Library, Sept. 12, 2015.
Five Marine artists worked for nearly a week in temperatures upwards of 100 degrees to finish the mural celebrating relationships built during the week between the Corps and the people of the greater Phoenix area.
“It has been incredible to have 800 Marines in the Valley of the sun,” said Jim Lane, the mayor of Scottsdale, Arizona. “The mural was quite a task, but these Marine artists accomplished it spectacularly.”
The Marine Corps’ one and only mounted color guard, from Marine Corps Logistic Base Barstow, California, posted and retired the colors on the backs of their Palomino horses to start the ceremony. According to Col. Steven Weintraub, a Scottsdale native, the horses harken back to the region’s Western roots.
“The mural serves as a reminder of the esprit de corps and the impact the Marines had during the events of the last week,” said Weintraub.
The mural features Arizona’s mountainous arid landscape with Marine aircraft soaring through the cloudy, crisp blue sky. The skyline of Phoenix and a foreground made up of the silhouettes of Marines among cacti.
“This mural will remind all of us how special the time spent during Marine week is,” said Lane. “This event may only be here once, hopefully we will be lucky enough to bring it back.”
The mural also memorializes Marine and Scottsdale native, Lance Cpl. Jacob Hug. Hug, a combat videographer, and seven other Marines perished in a helicopter crash while the Corps was providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to Nepal. Among the silhouettes of Marines, one Marine is manning a camera on a tripod.
“I feel honored and privileged to give back to his memory and his family,” said Lance Cpl. Abigail Laboy, a mural artist and a combat photographer. “ We wanted to put him somewhere in mural and it just fits.”
Hug’s family was present and recognized during the ceremony. Following the unveiling, a wreath was laid by the silhouette of Hug.
“We are glad and we are honored to receive this mural,” Lane said. “It celebrates both our connection to a tradition of military service and the arts.”
Marine Week Phoenix is an opportunity for the people of the greater Phoenix area to meet Marines and learn about Corps’ history, traditions and value to the nation.