New mural honors veterans

Photos/Mark Zimmaro
Photos/Mark Zimmaro

For decades, Jim and Joe McGinty have shown their support inside the walls of AMVET Post 148, by giving military veterans a place to gather rent free. Now, the McGinty brothers are showing their appreciation on the outside of the building, too.

On Oct. 11, the McGinty brothers unveiled a mural overlooking Penrose Ferry Road, paying tribute to the brave men and women who fought for the country.

“This is something we wanted to do for all the veterans that fought for this country and are still fighting for this country,” Jim McGinty said during a short ceremony. “We just want to thank everyone for their service.”

The McGinty family bought the building about 20 years ago and gave local veterans a place to hang out and host small events.

“That’s why we tried to give as much as possible to the veterans over the years when they were in here,” Joe McGinty said. “We didn’t serve. We were between that era. But knowing it wasn’t easy what these guys went through, so we try to help them out as much as possible.”

AMVET Post 148 was mostly World War II veterans. The group has gotten smaller over the years, but the support has been consistent. The large mural will shine a light on military contributions for years to come.

“The group has been dismantling and dying so we wanted to do something for them,” Jim McGinty said. “It’s something we’ve been trying to do for years.”

It came to fruition with the help of artist Billy Vogdes at Revolutionary Artworks, who worked tirelessly on the mural.

“It was an interesting process,” Jim McGinty said. “He would use a projector and trace the images on the wall. It was too bright at night so we had to make up a cover with a tarp so he could shine a light and trace the images. Then, he’d come back in the daytime and fill it in. It took a total of about 30 days.”

The mural’s tribute extends well beyond AMVET Post 148 in South Philly. All branches of the military are featured on the wall. 

“We put every force in,” Jim McGinty said. “We have the Space Force, the Coast Guard helicopter, the Air Force, the Navy, we have the Army helicopter and Iwo Jima for the Marines.”

The ceremony included the playing of “God Bless America” and a short recorded narration of some of the sacrifices made by veterans over the years. The mural provided a beautiful backdrop on a sun-drenched afternoon.

“I think it came out really nice,” Joe McGinty said. “I wish we could have gotten it done earlier but we’re really happy with how it came out and I’m glad everyone got down here to see it.”

The McGinty brothers’ father James was a Korean War veteran and his memory is shared in several photos inside the building. 

“My father would have loved this mural with the image of the Marines (at Iwo Jima),” Jim McGinty said. “That was one of his favorite pictures when we were younger.”

Now veterans of AMVET Post 148 have another favorite image.

“It was a beautiful day and I was happy to see the smiles on the faces of the veterans that are still here at this post,” Jim McGinty said. “It was something that made me feel good, that we finally revealed our mural and now we are part of a large collection of murals in Philadelphia.”