Mural honoring military forces removed from Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotel

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The new owners of an Oceanfront hotel recently painted over a mural dedicated to military forces, now the artist who painted the tribute is speaking out.

The new owners of the Howard Johnson hotel, formerly the Flagship Resort Inn, have covered the mural with a coat of white paint.

The artist, Sam Welty, posted a Facebook live video telling the story behind the landmark.

Welty says he was inspired to create the mural after the September 11 attacks.

With the mural being removed, he’s concerned about the message it’s sending to our  military community.

“What I’m concerned is happening, is this is not art to the community, to the military, to the people that serve and protect our freedom. I’m concerned this is saying to them ‘we don’t care. We can do without you.’”

Welty said he was planning to reach out to the hotel owners and hopes to repaint the mural.

The mural was done before the VAB Management Group acquired the building.

Monday, the Howard Johnson hotel responded to criticism saying the mural was peeling in multiple places and was letting water in the building.

They also say the peeling could have caused a code violation and a potential health problem for people staying in the building.

The hotel stressed that they never wanted to offend anyone, but wanted to fix the problems.

The hotel also say they have tried to fix the mural for over a year, but have had problems contacting Welty.

The hotel says they are in favor of working with Welty to redo the mural.