Soldiers' stories on display at WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND -- A compilation of more than 2,000 photos tells stories of war and home from a soldier's perspective in an exhibit opening Wednesday at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

The cloud collage illustrates a new way that some veterans are transitioning back to civilian life by sharing their experiences visually.

The exhibit of photos and words by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans called "Life After War: Soldiers' Stories" opens during a Veterans Day ceremony at 4 p.m. at the Richland campus.

The event was coordinated by photographer Jim Lommasson of Portland.

The images come together to make the whole story of the veteran -- the same camera that captures the smiles of loved ones and majestic hometown sunsets also contains images of the depravity of war and the stress of combat.

Parental discretion is advised for children.

Lommasson will speak at the opening. A veterans resource fair also is planned starting at 3 p.m. Both are in the West Building Atrium, 2710 Crimson Way.

Admission is free and the exhibit is open through Nov. 22 during building hours, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

The number of veterans enrolled at WSU Tri-Cities has grown from 36 in 2007 to this year's 115. Veterans now make up 7 percent of the student body.

Here are other Veterans Day events this week:

* The Tri-Cities Memorial Committee's ninth-annual Veterans Day event is 11 a.m. Thursday at the Regional Veterans Day Memorial in Columbia Park. Congressman Doc Hastings is a keynote speaker, along with several current and retired military dignitaries.

* Many schools in the Tri-Cities plan Veterans Day events. Students' family members who have served their country are invited to be honored at these events. Many serve lunch or refreshments to the veterans.

To find out what's happening at your child's school:

In Kennewick, there is a celebration at Highlands Middle School featuring a speaker from the National Guard and many elementary schools plan musical tributes, said district spokeswoman Lorraine Cooper.

For Richland events, go to rsd.edu and click on the link in the middle of the home page.

For Pasco events, go to psd1.org and look under "Upcoming" in the left column.

* Walla Walla University is sponsoring a special Veterans Day celebration at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the University Church. The Veterans Association of Walla Walla University plans patriotic music and special speaker Chaplain Peter Beck. The public is welcome.

* A plaque will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in honor and memory of the U.S. Coast Guardsmen awarded the Purple Heart Combat Decoration. The event will be at the lighthouse on Clover Island in Kennewick.

* A celebration of the Marine Corps' 235th birthday will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Kimo's, 2696 N. Columbia Center Blvd. There will be games, cake and giveaways. For more information, call Lori Loghry at 222-9436.

* The Army Corps of Engineers will waive day-use fees for veterans, active and reserve service members and their families at Corps recreation areas on Thursday.

The fee waiver covers boat launch ramp and beach fees. It does not apply to camping and camping-related services. To find Corps recreation areas, go to corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/states.cfm?state=WA.

* Orchard House in Grandview invites veterans to attend a Veterans Day celebration from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday.

Orchard House, a senior living community, will provide a free lunch to local veterans and their families. The home is at 2001 W. Fifth St., near West Fifth Street and Butternut.

For more information, call 509-882-4400 or go online to www.alcco.com.

* A flag that organizers say is the second-largest in the area will be hoisted in a special event at noon Thursday at 102 N. First Ave., in Mesa.

The flag measures 20-by-30 feet, said Charles Grimm, owner of JC's Mesa Grocery, where the flag will fly on an 80-foot pole.

The ceremony will include a brief presentation on the history of the national flag and music by the Connell High School brass band.

* The annual Veterans Day breakfast at the Richland Rehabilitation Center and Eagle Assisted Living, 1745 Pike Ave., is at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. The meal will include biscuits and gravy, sausage, and eggs cooked to order.

* The Tri-Cities Elks Lodge No. 2755 plans a veterans appreciation dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the lodge, 15 S. Colorado St., Kennewick.

Dinner is free for veterans or $7 for others and is open to all ages. A short commemorative program will follow.

For reservations, call 509-735-6035, or e-mail to elks2755@frontier.com.