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Editorial: Veterans' exhibit tells important tales

You don't have to listen long to realize Farmington's newest veterans have stories to tell.

Jared Kuyper is 25, but he feels much older than that. Thanks to the experiences he had while serving nearly two years in Iraq, the Farmington High School graduate feels like he has little in common with his classmates at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Bill Eccles watched online as his daughter grew from 3 to 5. He came home to a little girl who didn't really know who he was. Who continued to go to daycare even while he was there to take care of her because she didn't feel comfortable staying with this man she didn't recognize.

Those stories, along with items provided by Matthew Price and other veterans are part of a new traveling exhibit put together by the University of Minnesota. The exhibit, an oral history of soldiers' experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, is meant to give visitors an idea what their friends, family members or neighbors and fellow Minnesotans went through while they were serving their country and what they're going through now as they try to adjust to life at home.

Iraq veteran Price, another of the five Farmington veterans whose stories will be part of the exhibit, said he hopes the exhibit will help people understand why veterans act the way they do.

"The way we are and the way we see the world is way different," he said. "What we do now may seem crazy, but it's not crazy for us. It was just an everyday part of life for us."

The exhibit will arrive at Farmington City Hall Saturday for a six-day stay. The first day of the exhibit will be reserved for veterans and their family members but it will be open to the public from Sunday through Thursday.

We expect it to be a powerful, valuable experience for Farmington residents whether or not you know a veteran.