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PELL CITY – Twenty-four soldiers from the American Revolution throughout history to the present stand as an honor guard at the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home.

The painting by Dean Mosher, “A Grateful Nation Remembers,” was unveiled Thursday, where it will remain on permanent display.

“I want to thank all veterans for their service to our country,” said Clyde Marsh, Commissioner for the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs. “Our nation thanks you and owes you a debt of gratitude for your service.”

Marsh said it was an honor for him to serve in uniform and in his current position.

“We got to build a $50 million state-of-the-art facility, the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home,” he said. “One of the most rewarding things I’ve done as commissioner was to dedicate this building. A runner-up to that experience is the unveiling today. The painting is a masterpiece.”

Marsh said while in south Alabama, he spoke with an architect about the need for a work of art to pay tribute to those who gave service.

“I met with Dean Mosher about the tribute for our veterans,” he said. “I wanted something unique that would represent all the wars, the diversity of military branches and both genders, and he nailed it. The painting captures the essence of our military history and those who made it possible.”

Ken Rollins, Chairman of the Homes Committee for the Alabama State Board of Veterans Affairs, said every veteran wrote a blank check to the United States of America offering their lives for their country.

“We couldn’t have put this in a better location than Pell City in St. Clair County,” he said.

Mosher, who has historic paintings in museums and public buildings across the country, said he comes from a long line of veterans who served in the American Revolution and have fought in virtually every conflict since.

“Veterans mean a tremendous amount to me,” he said. “This painting is not just for the veterans here, but also for those who never came back.”

Mosher said the 8-foot-by-14.6-foot canvas took nearly a year to paint.

“It is an honor guard,” he said. “The shadows go to either said of the painting, representing the glow as you pass on, the light to greet the veterans as they pass over.”

Mosher said he used people, soldiers and sailors, rather than machines.

“That’s what wins wars—spirit not technology,” he said. “I am honored to be here with the veterans in one of the most, if not the best, veterans facilities in the nation.”