"Remembering our Fallen from Mississippi," a touring photo exhibit honoring the military who have died from wounds suffered in a war zone since Sept. 11, 2001, including two from Neshoba County, will open here in the historic train depot on Thursday, May 7.

The exhibit will remain open to the public through Tuesday, May 12.

Neshoba County's fallen soldiers, 1st Lt. Matthew Ryan Stovall and Sgt. Joshua Shane Ladd, are included in the exhibit which is touring Mississippi for a year. Philadelphia will be its first stop.

Stovall, 25, was killed Aug. 22, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq, when a roadside bomb exploded as the convoy in which he was riding passed. At the time of his death he was attached to the 401st Transport Company.

He was a member of the National Guard's 367th Maintenance Co.

Stovall was the son of Buck and Ellon Stovall of Philadelphia.

Ladd, 20, was killed in May 1, 2004, when hostile forces ambushed his convoy and a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle in Iraq. He was also member of the National Guard's 367th Maintenance Co.

Ladd was the son of Randy and Deborah Ladd.

The exhibit will open at 2 p.m. on May 7 with a short ceremony which will include the national anthem and a short program. The exhibit will be open through Tuesday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sunday when it will be from 1 to 6 p.m.

The Ladds and Stovalls attended the unveiling of the exhibit earlier this month in Jackson, describing it as emotionally moving.

"It was very good," Mrs. Ladd said. "All of the pictures are on display on easels so you can go around and look at them. There is a military picture of each soldier and another picture that the family could send of their choosing. Some have their families."

Joshua Ladd's exhibit includes a military picture of himself and another picture which was taken while he was stationed in Washington state.

"Mount Rainier is the background," Mrs. Ladd said. "He loved to hike."

The Stovalls included a photo of their son with his wife and son.

"The exhibit was really nice," Mrs. Stovall said. "I didn't realize that we had that many from Mississippi who had lost their lives. It was moving and very nice."

The unveiling was the first event since her son's death that didn't cause her to break down in tears, she said.

"Time may be what caused that," she said, noting that the exhibit was like a 'thank you' to her son and others who lost their lives.

The state commander of the National Guard who took them into Iraq at the time was the keynote speaker at the unveiling, she said.

"He was real down to earth," Mrs. Stovall said. "It was not a military talk. He spoke about their mission."

The legacy of "Remembering Our Fallen" is that these men and women will not be forgotten; that their names will be remembered and spoken often to their families and friends. 

The Mississippi exhibit and similar ones in numerous other states are made possible by the financial support of Midlands Community Foundation and Bellevue University, both located in Nebraska.

Midland assists with community development by improving and enhancing the quality of life. Bellevue is a leader in online education with students in every state and 55 countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We can never forget those who sacrificed everything for our freedom," said Dr. Mary Hawkins, president of Bellevue.

"We must remember these American heroes and speak their names when we see their family members. There is a disconnect between those we ask to serve and our society at large. This exhibit helps to make that connection and helps the public understand the magnitude of the sacrifices made by our fallen and their families."

Since May 2011, Bellevue University has sponsored "Remembering Our Fallen" exhibits in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, Kansas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, California, Alabama and Mississippi with more states to follow.

The displays that have been completed travel throughout their respective states to different communities for a week at a time.