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Exhibit honoring fallen heroes comes to Gainesville

POSTED: June 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.
One was a Little League coach for his son’s baseball and football teams. Another was a guitarist who recorded his own music. A computer geek, a bicycle racer, a triathlete champion — the diverse list of talents and passions goes on, but these men all had one thing in common: They were Georgia soldiers who gave their lives for America while in combat.

Portraits and stories of 40 soldiers are featured at the Northeast Georgia History Center from now until June 6 in the traveling exhibit, "Art from the Heart: Georgia’s Fallen Heroes."

The exhibit was the brainchild of the Atlanta Fine Arts League, a group of Atlanta area professional artists that formed in 2005. Their goal was to engage local artists to paint portraits of Georgia soldiers killed in combat efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"What I would like people to appreciate, whatever their politics may be, is when they come in and they see these faces on the wall, that none of those people are here anymore ... (and) to respect not only their sacrifice but their willingness to sacrifice," managing director Glen Kyle said.

Just as the exhibit transcends politics, it also transcends generations.

On display in the atrium are the reports and photographs of Gainesville Middle School students, who recently had the opportunity to visit with World War II veterans.

"You’re basically getting a cross section of the living generations you have in this country right now," Kyle said.

One of those featured in the gallery, Sergeant Kevin Akins, "had tattoos that he wore like a knight wears armor," his mother Kay Akins said. "He loved motorcycles, hunting, concerts and movies."

Kevin Akins was killed when an improvised explosive device hit his vehicle in Afghanistan in 2006.

Kyle said the history center will hold an open house free of charge from 1-4 p.m. Sunday. The open house will feature visits from veterans and memorabilia from different American wars.

The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for Seniors (65 and over), $3 for students (18 and under), and free for children under 6 years of age.

The Northeast Georgia History Center is located at 322 Academy St.

For more information, visit negahc.org or call 770-297-5900.



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