OMAHA, Neb (Reuters) - A traveling photo exhibit of 98 U.S. military from Nebraska and western Iowa killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has inspired its creators to put together similar displays across the country.
Bill and Evonne Williams of Omaha formed Patriotic Productions Inc. to create and display “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibits in other states. The exhibits will feature photos and biographical information on each service member killed.
“We need to remember their names,” Evonne Williams said.
The Nebraska-western Iowa exhibit opened in November at the Strategic Air & Space Museum near Ashland, Neb., and has been booked in 39 communities across the state.
A ”Remembering Our Fallen‘’ exhibit featuring 65 service members from Iowa who died from wounds suffered in Afghanistan or Iraq is scheduled to open May 1 in Adel, Iowa, then travel the state.
The couple hopes to organize and mount exhibits in five states a year. Bellevue, Nebraska University plans to co-sponsor the exhibit in several states.
The Williams’ said inspiration for the project came from reading newspaper coverage of the wars, especially stories of the families of those killed. They have four sons who have served or are currently serving in the Army or Marine Corps.
The project is not the first time the Williams’ rallied to recognize America’s veterans. They raised about $1.2 million and organized Honor Flights to fly 1,500 World War II veterans from the Midwest to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Memorial in 2008 and 2009.
Editing by Greg McCune