SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — Service members who have died since the 9-11 terror attacks, and called California home, are being remembered in an exhibit that was to be unveiled Saturday morning at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
The traveling photo memorial, called “Remembering Our Fallen,” honors Californians who died from wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9-11 terror attacks. According to the Patriotic Productions, which designed the tribute, California was home to more than 700 of the fallen, the most of any state.READ MORE: One Of The World's Largest Homes Is About To Go Up For Sale In Bel Air
On Saturday morning, KCAL9’s Joy Benedict spoke with Bill Williams, the president of Patriotic Productions, which designed the exhibit that will be on display at the Reagan Library through Feb. 8 before moving to other sites across the state. Williams said California is the 14th state where such an exhibit has been created.
“Only half a percent serve in the military now, so most people don’t pay attention,” Williams said. “We feel it’s important that the rest of us honor the sacrifice of these men and women who died in Iraq or Afghanistan.”
The first such exhibit traveled Nebraska. Williams said each is the product of hundreds of hours of research by his wife, Evonne, to find the families of fallen service members.READ MORE: Drone Drops Drugs Into Orange County Jail Courtyard
“We write them a note to ask them for a military picture of their loved one, but then we also ask them for their favorite personal picture,” Williams said. “So now you have a straight-ahead unsmiling Marine, but then the inset would be of him when he was in second grade. So it’s a very emotional experience.”
Family members were able to see the exhibit Saturday morning before it opened to the public.
Williams said the idea behind the exhibits was that they travel each state so more people can view them.
“Whether it be Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, all of our states,” he said. “Our 13 and now 14. All of them travel the state. They appear at the courthouse, the city hall, the library, the high school, perhaps. There’s always a place in every town.”MORE NEWS: Beach Erosion Suspends All Metrolink, Amtrak Service Between OC, San Diego
Williams said the goal is to eventually create exhibits for all 50 states.