American Patriot and Artist Scott LoBaido of Staten Island gifted and unveiled his powerful rendition of the Gadsden Flag on the front of American Legion Post 8 In New Rochelle. In response to the latest Gadsden Flag controversy, Mayor of New Rochelle, Noam Bramson has refused to allow the Veterans to fly the Gadsden Flag in front of The New Rochelle Naval Armory and ordered the flag be removed and confiscated. Bramson continues to make claims that the Gadsden flag is a direct representation of the “Tea Party” while veterans groups and citizens across the country strongly disagree. Back in 1775, when the flag originated as a symbol of patriotism and American strength and pride, the tea party was not in existance. The excuse the City has associating the Gadsden flag with the tea party is shedding light on the fact that New Rochelle is being lead by a Mayor who has consistently proven his lack of support for veterans and our military in general. Scott LoBaido saw the story published by USA today and the Associated Press and immediately went to work. LoBaido raised funds to have his artwork printed onto a banner in complete support of the New Rochelle Veterans and their “Don’t Tread on Us” message to City officials. As the masterpiece unfurled from the rooftop of American Legion Post 8, the sentiment was clear to all those disrespecting Veterans and ignoring the true meaning and history of the Gadsden Flag. LoBaido’s painting depicts a coiled rattlesnake yielding its fangs and ready to strike over the message “Don’t Tread On Me”. It is clear that New Rochelle’s UVMPA and Americans from NY to California are standing steadfast to the hopes that the City recognizes its poor interpretation of the Gadsden Flag and allows the Veterans to put it back on the pole at the New Rochelle Naval Armory where it deserves to be flown. UVMPA President Peter Parente quoted Ben Franklin’s description of the American rattlesnake and it’s symbolism “I recollected that her eyes excited in brightness that of any other animal and that she had no eyelids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor when once engaged ever surrenders. She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.” In a statement directed to the people of New Rochelle, Parente was quoted saying “Our Mayor, long before his stint in politics here in New Rochelle, has disliked and was not favorable to our military. Examples are the Mayor’s blockade and protest of the ROTC program during his studies at Harvard while American Patriotism was at it’s height during the Gulf War and Desert Storm. While the rest of the country was tying yellow ribbons in front of their homes supporting our troops, Noam Bramson was blocking our military from coming onto the campus of Harvard University to recruit. Maybe that explains why Noam Bramson erased New Rochelle’s proud history of Fort Slocum and is looking to do the same with the New Rochelle Naval Armory.”
The work of Scott LoBaido is heart stirring, patriotic and full of meaning. Though he is based in Staten Island, NY, LoBaido’s work can be seen on buildings and public spaces across the country. Over the last 20 years Scott has painted thousands of renditions of Old Glory and has thousands more to go. One of his greatest accomplishments are his “50 Flags Across America” project. Scott drove across the US within a period of 10 months and painted a huge American Flag on one rooftop in each of the 50 states. His work can be seen at http://ScottLobaido.com Scott LoBaido’s work is a proud example of one man’s goal to rekindle our (once strong) romance with America, through the power of his patriotic brushstrokes.
The New Rochelle Veterans and patriots like Scott LoBaido are gaining more and more support making sure that the Gadsden flag remains true to its history and meaning. From sea to shining sea, the message is clear “Don’t Tread On Me”
Photo credit Jen Parente