While a picture can be worth a thousand words, powerful is probably the one word most fitting to the images on display in Alpine.
The Remembering Our Fallen exhibit features pictures of the 710 California men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11th, 2001. And these are not just the typical posed in uniform pictures. The creators of the exhibit approached the families and asked for two photos of their choice.
“There’s pictures from their high school days. There’s pictures from their childhood, from funny things they’ve done to happy joyous things,” says Dan Foster Chairman of the Wall of Honor in Alpine. “We want to remember them. We want to see their smiling faces. We want to see how wonderful these men and women are."
Taped onto a lot of the pictures are notes from family members and strangers.
“It’s an incredible sight,” said Dougan Dimmitt, who came to see the opening of the display in Alpine on Saturday. “It’s an incredible way to capture the memory of real heroes.”
Some of the family members came to see the exhibit like Sherrie Fredsti whose son Nick was killed in Afghanistan in June of 2012. It was his six deployment in 12 years. His family says he spent 86 months away from home during that time. One of the pictures they chose to display was taken a few hours before he was killed.
“Our biggest fear is that they’ll be forgotten,” said Sherrie Fredsti, “And this reminds people, and keeps their faces and their memories fresh for all of us.”
The exhibit opened at the Ronald Regan Presidential Library in Simi Valley in January. It’s now traveling around the California. There are similar displays going on in more than a dozen states.
The goal is to have a collection from all 50 states and tour them around the country together in 2016.
Remembering our Fallen will be on display at the Alpine Community center until March 7th. From there, it goes to Poway.