Photos courtesy of Century Villages at Cabrillo.

Last month a new mural honoring the naval history of The Villages at Cabrillo and the veterans who have lived there since its beginnings in 1997 was unveiled during a dedication ceremony. “The Village Jam”, made up of veteran residents from all five branches of service, kicked off the ceremony, which included testimonials from residents and Seventh District Councilman Roberto Uranga, according to Century Villages at Cabrillo (CVC) Executive Director Steve Colman.

The 36-foot-long, 15-foot-tall Veterans Mural was painted on the east wall of the Knabe Exchange building, which houses the US VETS dining hall, the “Old Soldiers” Deli and the Cabrillo Canteen. Over 60 CVC residents and guests helped paint the mural over two days, while others came by to watch and encourage everyone there, according to Colman.

“Being able to bring the entire Villages at Cabrillo community together to help paint this mural celebrating our Veterans and the Naval history of CVC was inspirational,” said Colman.

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Muralist Art Mortimer spent almost a year researching and developing the piece, which depicts the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and in the background, San Pedro and Palos Verdes, according to CVC. Also depicted is “Herman the German”, the famous floating crane of the shipyard, while in the foreground to the right is a group representing current veterans who call CVC their home.

“The group of veterans on the right was completed in a somewhat abstract style to keep the painting work fairly simple for the volunteer artists, as will the Naval Shipyard in the background,” stated CVC’s announcement. “While the veterans are not recognizable individuals, the sketches were completed from actual photographs of some of our resident veterans.”

Behind the group, The Villages’ Bell Tower is visible, while appearing in the sky is a Coast Guard helicopter, as well as a group of Air Force jets flying in a “Missing Man” formation in honor of vets who have passed away since moving to The Villages, as well as the service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, according to CVC.

Five symbols in the upper left of the mural represent Judge Harry Pregerson, one of the founders of The Villages, a Native American Medicine Wheel with a rack of Armed Services ribbons below it, a Purple Heart Medal and next to it, a Buffalo Soldiers logo honoring African Americans who served in the US Army starting in 1886. The final logo shows the aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American pilots, crew, and support personnel in the Army Air Force during WWII.

All five services—the Navy, Army, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force—are represented.

The Villages at Cabrillo are located at 2001 River Avenue, Anchor Plaza.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram @theasiamorris and via email at [email protected]

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