Baton Rouge Community College will host the traveling memorial exhibit – Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial – just ahead of Veterans Day on Nov. 3-6 at the BRCC Automotive Training Center, 2115 N. Lobdell Blvd.
The display will open with a program on Friday, Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m. featuring keynote speaker, Col. Joey Strickland, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs. The exhibit will remain open to the public until 6 p.m., Friday. Visitors may also view the exhibit on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 6 from 8 a.m. to noon. Colors will be retired at noon on Nov. 6 to signify the exhibit’s closing.
The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial, created by Anita Miller, depicts the fallen Marines and Navy Corpsman of Columbus, Ohio based Lima Company 3/25, one of the most heavily engaged units of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 23 life-sized portraits have become a powerful traveling veterans tribute honoring all who answer our nation’s call. The traveling tribute is supported by a board of directors consisting of retired military, business men and women and clergy.
“We are honored to host such a powerful tribute to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. Ms. Miller’s depiction of these soldiers is sure to prove breathtaking and awe-inspiring to all visitors of the memorial,” said BRCC Chancellor Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib. “Baton Rouge Community College is proud to be a presenting organization of this traveling veterans memorial, and we are equally pleased to have our Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Col. Joey Strickland, join us for the unveiling ceremony.”
The touring team has a personal connection to the men in the paintings. Mike Strahle is a Purple Heart combat veteran who fought alongside the portrayed men and was badly injured in one of the attacks. Sean Flaharty was personal friends of the fallen and helped support Miller, as a volunteer for years before becoming part of the touring team. Both men offer personal insight into the history and experience of this powerful memorial.
The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial was first unveiled in May 2008 in the Ohio Statehouse Rotunda. Although the paintings in this Memorial specifically depict the 23 fallen Marines from Lima 3/25, it has become much more. The mission of the nonprofit, Eyes of Freedom traveling memorial is to honor the service and sacrifice of all who answer our nation’s call. Behind each portrait one feels the spirit of the thousands of men and women who have served our country, in every branch of the armed forces, not forgetting the returning veterans now suffering from post-traumatic stress.
The exhibit is sponsored by the college’s office of Veteran Affairs, the BRCC Foundation, and BRCC Student Government Association. For more information about the exhibit at Baton Rouge Community College, visit MyBRCC.edu or call (225) 216-8323. For information about The Eyes of Freedom: Lima Company Memorial, visit www.EyesofFreedom.org