Who better to recognize and appreciate Western Nevada Collegeâ€™s â€œAlways Lost: A Meditation on Warâ€ exhibit than Disabled American Veterans? DAV has called upon the nationally recognized war memorial exhibit created by WNC to honor the sacrifices made by American service members since 9/11 during its 93rd national convention Aug. 7-12 in Las Vegas.
â€œWestern Nevada College is honored to have been asked to display the â€˜Always Lostâ€™ exhibition at the DAV Convention in Las Vegas,â€ said WNC President Chet Burton. â€œDAV is an strong advocate for veterans and ensuring the promises made to the men and woman who have served in the military are kept. It is a privilege for WNC to share with the thousands of veterans attending the DAV conference our attempt to recognize and honor the members of the military who have served, who are serving and who will serve and ensuring the sacrifices made by those who have given their all in Iraq and Afghanistan are remembered.â€
The nationally touring exhibit, which personalizes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be available for viewing by the public and media during the weeklong Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary National Convention at Ballyâ€™s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.
For WNC English professor emeritus Marilee Swirczek, who helped create the project along with former WNC sociology professor Don Carlson, the DAV Conventionâ€™s interest in â€œAlways Lostâ€ shows how intrigue with the exhibit continues to evolve. The exhibit began being shown at colleges and universities around the county but has also appeared in museums, libraries, conference centers, legislative buildings and art galleries.
“It means that what began as a class project at our college is still reaching new audiences in its fifth year of touring the nation,â€ said Swirczek, who remains involved with the exhibit along with project manager Amy Roby. â€œIt means that Always Lost is evolving as a unique arts and humanities exhibition with the potential to bring its message of awareness and healing to both civilian and military audiences. And it means that representatives from all over the country will see Always Lost in a special context at the DAV convention, so our dream of contributing to the national conversation about our obligations to those who serve in harmâ€™s way on our behalf is coming true.â€
The essence of the exhibit is the Wall of the Dead, which includes the names and photographs of the more than 6,800 American casualties in the two wars, a thought-provoking display that moves viewers to reflect on the ramifications war has on society. The exhibit also includes 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning photos, as well as literary work from Swirczekâ€™s creative writing classes, veterans and their families, Lone Mountain Writers and other contributors.
As a former supply officer in the Navy and a professional career that has taken him into the Pentagon, â€œAlways Lostâ€ has added meaning to Burton.
â€œAs a Navy veteran, I am truly humbled that the WNC exhibit has been viewed by and touched so many as it has been touring at a variety of venues around the county.â€
Always Lost will be installed at the DAV Convention on Aug. 6 and open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 7, as well as from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 8-11 and from 8 a.m. to noon on Aug. 12.
DAV partnered with WNC and the Nevada Department of Veterans Services to bring the exhibit to Las Vegas and is covering the expenses to bring â€œAlways Lostâ€ to the convention.
â€œDAV is proud to bring this exhibit to Las Vegas, not only for our members to honor their fallen brothers and sisters, but to enable the general public to reflect upon the sacrifices made by the men and women who served,â€ said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. â€œPhysical, mental and emotional wounds can make the road to recovery difficult, and DAV understands how important it is for our nation to honor and remember the sacrifices our heroes made in defense of our great nation.â€
From the DAV Convention, â€œAlways Lostâ€ will be installed at the Nevada State Museum Springs Preserve for public viewing from Sept. 28 through Oct. 27. A duplicate exhibit has enabled Roby to present the exhibit at different venues as part of the 2014-16 NV150 Sesquicentennial Tour sponsored by Nevada Department of Veterans Services. â€œAlways Lostâ€ most recently was displayed at the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum in Ely and is scheduled for a Aug. 25-Sept. 12 showing in Minden.