In conjunction with the traveling exhibition, “Always Lost: A Meditation on War,” a local military veteran will speak about the display Saturday at the Pahrump Valley Museum.
Beginning at 1 p.m. at the museum Dr. Tom Waters, a retired Lt. Col. of the Air Force, will talk about the exhibit and what Independence Day really means.
“It’s about the “Always Lost Exhibit,” which is about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that we lost in the war,” Waters said. “We’ve got about 6,500 names and pictures of the ones that we lost, but it’s actually about 7,000 now. That’s really what the speech is about.”
The exhibit was created at Western Nevada College in 2009, and has garnered so much attention that it has been traveling the country. The exhibit will be at the museum until July 18 for local residents to view and pay their respects to the fallen soldiers.
Waters had a lengthy career in the military working his way up the ranks from senior NCO, all the way up to lieutenant colonel. after 32 and a half years of active duty.
After retirement Waters’ efforts have been focused on education, community service, and a ministry. Dr. Waters is a recipient of several military and civilian awards and recognitions, including the Purple Heart.
With his career in the military, Waters explained it was a no-brainer for him to be involved with the exhibit in some capacity while it was in town after a retired Marine major Iraq veteran was unable to speak at the event due to a previous engagement.
“He gave a speech on Memorial Day that I thought was very good, so I asked the museum if they were going to have him speak there, but they said he was going to be out of town,” he said. “So they asked me if I would step in and that’s why I am doing it. I am involved with almost all the veterans’ issues in town and I’m just trying to help out where I can.”
For residents who might be on the fence about attending the speech Saturday, or the exhibit while it’s at the museum, Waters said it comes down to respecting those who fight for the country.
“I want them to honor all the veterans and all the members who went to Iraq and Afghanistan, to hear about what they went through,” Waters said. “Also, to hear about all the wars and why we have Independence Day. The speech is going to be one week after we celebrate the 239th celebration of our independence and that’s what it’s all about.
“Just to say thanks to our veterans, thanks for protecting our freedom and Iraq and Afghanistan are just the latest of those wars.”
The exhibit is open for viewing at the Pahrump Valley Museum, located at 401 East Basin Ave., Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until July 18.