Operation Grateful Nation 2012

Students from 16 cities and military families nationwide show
appreciation for the military in a mosaic mural on display at the Pentagon.

Operation Grateful Nation is a national program that is part of a partnership between Ford Motor Company Fund and Project S.N.A.P. designed to give participants the opportunity to thank members of the military for their service and commitment.

This program culminated in the creation of a giant 5’x9′ mosaic mural inspired by “America the Beautiful” and was put on display at the Pentagon from 2013-2014 before reaching its final home at the Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness, a rural sanctuary that provides free accommodations, recreational and therapeutic activities and programs to help the nation’s military and veteran personnel and their families recover and reconnect during their long journey of healing from physical and invisible wounds of war.  In its place at the Pentagon, the Operation Grateful Nation 2014  was installed in November 2014.

The mosaic mural was created from nearly 6,000 artworks contributed by high school students and military families. Participants created artworks and wrote artist’s statements reflecting on the importance of expressing gratitude for the service and sacrifice that members of the military and their families give for their country.  A copy of each artwork created was also mailed to active duty military serving overseas as part of their holiday packages.

The mosaic mural image draws on the themes from “America the Beautiful” depicting a scene from sea to shining sea with amber waves of grain, purple mountain’s majesty, and even an apple tree (adorned with a yellow ribbon) to represent the fruited plain.  An alabaster city gleams under spacious skies as two children look out saluting an eagle that represents members of the military returning home to see that their family is waiting for them.  Each city is represented in the skyline by an iconic building from its community.


When members of the military see my artwork I hope that they feel that we do care about them and that we are so grateful for what they are doing for our country.

Participants can access the mosaic mural online in the Project S.N.A.P. Online Art Museum, read and share their artist’s statement and see how their artwork fits into the “big picture”.

Reproductions of the original mosaic mural are on display in each of the participating cities.  Participating schools also have the opportunity to display the mosaic mural and give all the students a chance to learn more about this initiative and appreciate the collaborative process.