Photos of 81 Kansans killed while on military duty in Afghanistan and Iraq are currently on display at the Augusta Public Library, 1609 State St.
The exhibit, “Remembering Our Fallen,” was created by Bill and Evonne Williams of Patriotic Productions in Omaha.
The couple said they were inspired after reading a newspaper story in the fall of 2010 about a father who lost his son in Iraq and expressed concern his son would be forgotten. The Williamses began a state-by-state campaign to create photo exhibits for each individual killed.
Their first display featured those killed in action from Nebraska. The idea spread and the Williamses have created similar state exhibits for Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona and Kansas. They plan on creating their next state exhibits in Wisconsin and Oklahoma.
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Each family member whose son or daughter has died are contacted, Bill Williams said, and are asked to contribute their relative’s best military photo and their most revered family photo.
“And therein lies the problem in how difficult this display is for some people,” Williams said. “You will have a straight, head-on, unsmiling Marine and then see the insert of him with his 4-H calf when he was 10 years old.
“It means so much to these families who are afraid their loved ones will be forgotten.”
The Augusta exhibit is sponsored by Leonard Whitehill American Legion Post and Auxiliary Unit 189. The overall state exhibits are sponsored by Bellevue University of Bellevue, Neb.
The displays are created so they can readily travel from one community to the other. The Kansas exhibit was first unveiled June 9 at Fort Riley.