Local Exhibit Honors U.S. Military Veterans

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CARSON CITY, Nev. -- It's wall that will stop you in your tracks. The Fallen heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan have been immortalized in a traveling exhibit that started in Carson City. It's called 'Always Lost: A Meditation on War,' and the goal is to bring an impersonal war back home. Western Nevada College is making a national effort to help us remember those heroes.

Like man people with family serving in the military, Sherry Siegfried came to the exhibit to show her support, but didn't expect to find her nephew among the wall of faces.

"You didn't expect him to grow up and go to war and be a hero," she said. "He was loved by his family and his community and school."

Theodore (Teddy) B. Rushing is one of more than 6,500 American Military members who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11.

Currently, there are 34 panels each with 192 fallen men and women. The 35th panel will be added in the near future.

"It's heartbreaking and to think that every boy here, there's people all over with a hole in their hearts because their loved ones haven't come home," Siegfried said.

It started out as a student show, but the students and staff at Western Nevada College (WNC) wanted to create a sacred space for families to absorb the costs of war.

This exhibit is the second version of 'Always Lost: A Meditation on War.' The original is on a national tour and is currently at the University of Wisconsin.

"We're able to provide a way for family member to see their loved ones and to know that we have not forgotten them," Marilee Swirczek, WNC English professor said.

Finding a loved one on the wall can be difficult. The photos on aren't arranged in any particular order, just as there was no order on the battlefield for those who lost their lives.

"We have to look in the faces and eyes of each one of them and find our loved ones," Swirczek said.

Many of them had their lives cut too short, leaving their families in mourning. The exhibit tells the story each man and woman a story.

"Like all boys, they all have their own stories, their own secrets their own hopes and they're all cut off," Siegfried said.

Many may feel detached from the wars, either they don't have first-hand experience of they don't know anyone personally serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, but through photos and literature, they can feel a personal connection with all of them.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photos on display are from The Dallas Morning News and the stories and poems are written by the students in the creative writing class at WNC.

"We need to pay attention and honor our service members," Amy Roby, exhibit project manager and former WNC student said. "It's changed my life, it's changed my perspective. I have a greater appreciation of how wonderful it is to live in this country and how fortunate we are."

For Sherry Siegfried, the exhibit brings a far-off war back home.

"I can't wait to go home to call and tell [Teddy's parents] that Teddy is on the wall here and that would make them very proud."

The new exhibit is on the second floor atrium in the Legislative Building in Carson City. There is no cost and is open to the public. IT will be open until May 3 before it makes its way to Washington D.C.