PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – What was once a bare wall at a Plano fire station is now a work of art and a tribute to sacrifice. Local artist Michael McPheeters, known as “Mr. Mural,” is hand-painting a mural in remembrance of 9/11.
He has made a career out of creating murals but said this one is different.
“It’s pretty heavy,” he said of the subject matter. “I think, as an artist, we’re storytellers, so it’s our responsibility to tell a story and to do it in the right tone.”
Thus with strokes of a paintbrush or the spritz of spray paint, McPheeters is turning the walls of Plano Fire Station 8 into a 9/11 memorial. Firefighter and veteran Larson Leidig wanted the mural for the next generation of firefighters who were born after 9/11.
“We wanted to keep the memory of heroes and how it affected our lives alive, and the best way we could do it is create something that’s going to be here 50, 60 years,” said Leidig.
So with images both original and iconic and colors that span from dull to dazzling, it’s meant to take the viewer on a historical journey.
“You have kind of more dull colors behind us in the wreckage, and, as they’re raising the flag, we have our first response, which was the soldiers on the horseback going to Afghanistan,” said McPheeters.
And even though it’s only about 60% complete, the mural is already drawing fans from its intended group.
“It’s inspiring, because it shows the story,” said Plano West High School Senior Natanya Wright. “It tells a huge, monumental, life-changing story for America.”
When the mural’s complete, a piece of steel from Ground Zero and other 9/11 memorabilia will be included. A tribute to hope is the hope.
“It’s about into the future, the hope of learning from our past mistakes, and the end of it’s going to be capped off with the Statue of Liberty looking back to the past to remember what we’ve come out of,” said McPheeters.
The cost of the entire project is around $19,000. It will be funded 100% by local sponsors.