Continuing the tradition of honoring our nation’s veterans, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and the Richard Nixon Foundation will host the Portraits of the Fallen Memorial. Acting Library Director Susan Donius states, “This exhibit demonstrates the importance of serving our country, but is also a reminder of the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and the impact their service has had upon their families and communities. It is our hope that future generations will celebrate the lives and service of these men and women as we do with this exhibit.”
POTFM Creative Director Sherry Moore invited 157 artists to paint one of our fallen California service members who gave his or her life while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. There are 158 portraits of the California fallen completed to date. The ultimate goal of the project is to depict each of the over 6,500 fallen U.S. heroes. The portraits will be digitized so they can be included in a digital application accessible on computers and mobile devices. Also planned is a tile-based monument that will include portraits of all of the California fallen. The art portraits will travel and be displayed in venues across the state.
As curator, Moore carefully matches each fallen hero with one of California’s finest artisans. Participating artists come from a wide range of backgrounds, including internationally known artists Dr. Ruth Weisberg, Kent Twitchell, Peter Zokosky, Betty Shelton, and Gayle Garner Roski. Also available to the public are three volumes with artists’ statements discussing their experience painting these portraits.
When asked why she began this project, Moore responded that, “As a veteran myself, I feel a calling to tell the stories of our nation’s fallen heroes through my own unique perspective.” The exhibit will include local fallen heroes such as Robert J. Cottle and Rick Centanni, who were from Yorba Linda. Marine Sgt. Major Cottle and 19 year-old Lance Cpl. Centanni died in the same incident on March 24, 2010, in Southern Afghanistan. Cottle also served as a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT Officer. Centanni graduated from Esperanza High School and was a member of high school’s football team.