County of Marin - Press Releases - Memorial Exhibit

For Immediate Release
April 28, 2014

Poignant Memorial Exhibit on Display at Civic Center

‘Always Lost’ depicts images of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan

San Rafael, CA – A photographic memorial depicting stark images of war scenes in Iraq and Afghanistan is being showcased in the Marin County Civic Center and will be the subject of a reception May 20 with the installation curators and local military veterans.

Always Lost: A Meditation on War,” installed with help from the Marin County Free Library staff, started as a creative writing and sociology classroom project at the Carson City campus of Western Nevada College. Now funded by grants and donations, the exhibit has been shared all over the country since its 2009 debut. Through June 13, it is being shown on the first floor of the Civic Center near the junction of the Hall of Justice and the Administration Building.

The exhibit features Pulitzer Prize-winning images from Dallas Morning News photojournalists embedded with Marine units in Iraq and original literary works by Western Nevada College creative writers, veterans and family members of veterans, and other Nevada writers. The purpose of the non-political arts and humanities exhibit is to bring home the personal and collective costs of war and to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.   

The heart of “Always Lost” is the Wall of the Dead, a collection of photos of more than 6,500 American military war casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. Two of those were from Marin County: Army specialists Jake Velloza of Inverness and Nicholas Olson of Novato, both of whom died in 2008.

Director Sara Jones said the Marin County Free Library is pleased to share the exhibition to the Marin audience.

“We understand it has graphic photographs and poignant pieces of literary expression of the human cost of war,” Jones said. “As the daughter of an American soldier who fought in World War II and was a career recruiter for the National Guard, the human sacrifice is real for me. The library also wanted to bring attention to the newest generation of veterans and highlight the assistance available to them through our participation in Veterans Resource Center project.”

Marin County Veterans Services Officer Sean Stephens, a four-tour Army veteran from the Afghanistan campaign, said he expects some visitors will become emotional when coming across the exhibit. He expects to be at the installation for the 4 p.m. May 20 reception that will include officials from local veterans groups and special guests.

“It will affect every veteran differently,” Stephens said, “Although some will be emotionally strong enough to handle viewing it, not all will be. Many of our veterans have experienced first-hand horrors in war zones, and we have to respect whatever reactions they have to reminders such as this.”

View “Always Lost” at the Civic Center weekdays between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. plus extended hours when the Civic Center Library is open (it is temporarily closed through April 30 for renovations). Parking and entry into the building near the South Arch is recommended.

A video summary of the exhibit is on YouTube. Donations to support the “Always Lost” tour are welcomed. Learn more at Questions and comments can be sent to


Sara Jones
Marin County Free Library

3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6051
Email: Sara Jones
Library website