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Minnesota National Guard
Portraits of the Past Bestowed upon Generations to Come

Minnesota National Guard June 6 is a day in world history that will forever be remembered as D-Day. This year marked the 69th anniversary of when our nation and Allied Forces invaded the Nazi occupied beaches of Normandy, France. Surviving World War II Service members remember the sacrifice and victory that D-Day represents.

Many stories have been told about that day and many have depicted these accounts through different mediums. Jo Lutz Rollins, a Stillwater, Minn resident and artist, was one to uniquely illustrate war.

In the late 1940's, Rollins was commissioned to create murals of World War II events for the Stillwater American Legion, Post 48. Her work expanded over time and included many scenes from World War II and representations from the Korean conflict.

Years passed and Post 48 renovated their building Rollins' artwork was put in storage, only to be recently uncovered by the current members of Post 48. Recognizing the historical importance of the murals, legionnaires wanted to share them with the community, and what better place to display the murals than the new Stillwater Armory that is slated to be built in 2014.

An official ceremony was held June 6 at the Stillwater Armory to transfer Rollins' artwork from the American Legion Post 48 and Washington County Historical Society to the Minnesota National Guard.

Of special note, in the crowd was four surviving World War II Veterans. The men were able to stand together and gaze upon the art that brought them back to where they were 59 years ago.

Brig. Gen. Bill Lieder, director of joint staff for the Minnesota National Guard, recognized the Veterans for their service and sacrifice during the ceremony.

"It is important that we take time to commemorate and observe our history as well as important events like we have here today- It's a good day for Stillwater," said Lieder.

"This partnership between the American Legion, the Washington County Historical Society and the Minnesota National Guard allows this local art to be experienced for years to come," said Sgt. 1st Class Gary Leshovsky, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, Stillwater Armory.

Leshovsky said plans for Rollin's murals include professional framing and preservation Temporarily, the art can be seen at the current Stillwater Armory until their final resting place at the new Armory where they will be hung on display for generations to come.

June 7, 2013
Story and photos by Air Forcer Staff Sgt. Paul Santikko

Download photos

Stillwater Patch- Rare Military Murals Open to the Public

Star Tribune- Unburied Treasure in Stillwater

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