From the Chair

Faces of the Fallen

is a powerful and deeply moving exhibition that is quickly becoming an historic American memorial. Using the power of art, it recognizes the profound sacrifice of the servicemen and women who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq and the families and friends they leave behind. Over 1000 people visit daily and many leave behind letters, photographs, medals and mementos. The small pedestals underneath the portraits turn into cherished places of remembrance - a memento mori bringing Americans together in grief and gratitude.

Created during the conflict it commemorates, Faces of the Fallen continues the age-old tradition of artists memorializing war heroes. The exhibit echoes the Renaissance ideal that art can and does transcend and heal. Kathleen Robert's reaction on seeing her brother's portrait for the first time at The Women's Memorial says it best: "…It was a tremendous yet beneficial shock. Looking at that painting was like looking at Andrew again. It was so much better than a photo. It almost looked…holy!...."

The steady stream of visitors to Faces of the Fallen bears witness to its emotional and educational impact. Frequently, viewers ask if the exhibit will travel around the country so that Americans and visitors who cannot come to Arlington also have an opportunity to remember, to honor and to mourn. The faces in these portraits, so meaningful now, reach out to the future, and the fallen live on, enshrined in the memory of individuals and in the story of our nation. We ask you to join us in honoring their courage and remembering their sacrifice.

Thank you.

Annette Polan