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Remembering our fallen

The “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit will be displayed June 2-7 at the Sibley Public Library. Submitted Photo1 / 2
The “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit is a memorial to Iowa soldiers killed in the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Submitted Photo2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — With this week’s observance of Memorial Day, it’s a good time to consider those who have given their lives for our country. 

Beginning Monday, the Sibley Public Library will host a traveling exhibit that will enable people to do just that.

“Remembering Our Fallen” is a touring photo display honoring members of the military who have died in service to the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. The Sibley display focuses solely on the Iowa soldiers who have died.

Each soldier is pictured and is listed by name, rank, age, branch of military, hometown, date of death, means of death and country in which the death took place. The display is not gruesome in nature; rather, it is designed to honor national heroes.

Connie Mataloni, director of the Sibley library, explained the importance of this type of exhibit.

“The Sibley Public Library is very pleased to offer the ‘Remembering Our Fallen’ exhibit to everyone in the area because there are several local men from northwest Iowa who are included in the exhibit,” Mataloni said.

“Sometimes we get too comfortable in our lives, and I think it’s important to make sure that the soldiers who have given their lives for our country are never forgotten.”

Remembrance is the primary motivation for the exhibit.

“This exhibit is created so it can travel easily throughout Iowa, so that more people will have the opportunity to honor and remember Iowa’s fallen,” said Col. James R. Biernesser, USAF (Ret.) and director of military affairs for Bellevue University, a major sponsor of the exhibit. “We must remember these American heroes and speak their names when we see their family members.”

Begun in Nebraska in 2011 by Bill and Evonne Williams of Patriotic Productions in Omaha, their original Nebraska-centered display was received so well by the families of the soldiers as well as by the public that they were asked to make new displays for other states. There are more than a dozen tours nationally, each focused on one individual state.

“‘Remembering Our Fallen’ is just a beautiful display of our appreciation of our fallen warriors,” said Rachel Loutsch, a librarian at Sibley’s library. “It’s a great memorial of the Iowa soldiers who have been killed during the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Loutsch sees this display as building on the many war memorials of long-ago wars, but with a more modern twist.

“There are many memorials to other wars in the past, but this is more recent and definitely for our younger generation,” Loutsch said. “It’s good for them to see these heroes of ours.”

The exhibit is free and will be open to the public from June 2-7, starting after 3 p.m. on June 2.

The Sibley Public Library is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; and 10 2 p.m. Saturday.