By MADELENE BIRENBAUM
The exhibit “Always Lost: A Meditation on War” asks people to feel compassion about the consequences of war. The exhibit consists of a collection of photographs, portraits, poems and quotes to encourage introspection on recent war efforts. One needs to only walk into Marian Art Gallery to understand the gravity of war.
At the exhibit’s entrance, photographs of those who perished in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom since Sept. 11, 2001, represent the lost lives of the soldiers who fought against aggression.
“Always Lost: A Meditation of War” features photographs by David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, winners of Pulitzer Prize and Breaking News Photography Awards (2004), and who are journalists of “The Dallas Morning News.” The subjects and scenes of the photographs command attention and inspire meditation because of their brutal and inhumane nature.
Selected works of poetry complement the photographs and show the struggles of fighting a long war. Both war and the homefront are depicted.
“The List” by Amy Smee allows readers to hear how a soldier prepares for combat.
Amy Roby’s “Wishes of a Wife Whose Husband has Returned from Iraq” depicts the struggles of living with a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The prose “Finding the Needle – or Me & Andy C.” by Josh Galarza shows the act of finding a friend’s picture in the list of casualties of the war. “Finding the Needle” shows the quest for preserving and remembering a friend’s humanity.
Galarza’s prose symbolizes the creation of the “Always Lost” exhibit. Collecting the many faces of the deceased men and women is an act of preserving the honor and humanity of the military from all the war efforts.
Keven P. Burns, retired major of the U.S. Marine Corps, said of the exhibit, “I will look them in the eyes and thank them. I hope to God it was worth their sacrifice.”
To be sure, spanning over the somber or smiling faces, it is almost imperative to follow his words.
The exhibit reflects Mount Mary College’s mission themes of community, commitment, compassion and competence.
The faces of more than 6,500 men and women represent the U.S. military’s commitment in sacrificing for the good of their country. Community is built by the ideas reflected by “Almost Lost.” It is meditation that binds the collective whole for a common goal: freedom.