MUSCATINE, Iowa — A traveling museum exhibit hit town Friday featuring photos of Iowans killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Bill and Evonne Williams of Omaha, Neb., formed Patriotic Productions Inc. in April to create and display “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibits. The exhibits feature photos and biographical information on each of 65 fallen Iowa service members.
The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since 2001 and in Iraq since 2003. More than 7,000 troops from some 20 countries have died in the two wars.
Evonne Williams said she was inspired to create the traveling memorial after reading about a father who felt his son had been forgotten four years after he died.
“When the display arrives in a community, most have an opening ceremony and invite any families from the area who have lost a loved one in the War on Terror,” Williams said.
Mayor Dick O’Brien was on hand to introduce Toby Strause, chairman of the Muscatine County Veterans Affairs Commission.
O’Brien, a World War II veteran, stressed what an honor it is to have this display in Muscatine. “It’s a wonderful display that offers wonderful and not-so-wonderful memories,” O’Brien said. “But memories we should never forget.”
Strause said, as a Vietnam veteran, he didn’t get this recognition, but is glad soldiers are today. The goal is to expose as many people as possible to this exhibit.
“The lesson from my experience is that we have to remember,” Strause said. “Behind everyone up there is a family.”
The photos of the soldiers provide their names, ages, ranks, hometowns, how they died and in which war they died.
The exhibit opened May 1 in Adel, Iowa, and has been since traveling around the state.
Strause was moved to tears as he introduced the display.
“I helped set this up, but I didn’t get a chance to look at it until today,” he said. “I didn’t realize how powerful the display is.”
On display at First National Bank of Muscatine from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and July 29-30. It will be at L-M High School from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday, July 28.
For more information, visit rememberingourfallen.org.