A poignant combination of combat photographs and literary meditations on the nature of war has been making its away around Minnesota. Its next stop will be in Perham before returning to the metro area.

“Always Lost: A Meditation on War” brings home the personal and collective costs of war and honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The project grew out of a creative-writing class at Western Nevada College in 2009, in which students explored the personal costs of war. At the heart of the exhibition is the Wall of the Dead, which depicts the faces and names of the more than 6,500 servicemen and women who have died in those wars since September 11, 2001.

The images feature Pulitzer Prize-winning combat photos from Dallas Morning News photojournalists who were embedded with Marine units in Iraq. It also includes literary works by the college students, veterans and family members of veterans. The exhibit pays special tribute to Minnesota native Army Specialist Noah Pierce, an Iraq war veteran, who took his own life after serving two combat tours in Iraq.

Veterans advocate Trista Matascastillo said she got a call last year from the dean at Mesabi Range Community College in Eveleth inviting her to check out the exhibit.

“I drove up in a snowstorm in January thinking I’d take a quick look and get back on the road. It literally took me to my knees,” she said. “It is the Vietnam Wall of our era. It took me three hours to just get through the exhibit and dry my tears.”

The exhibit is sponsored by the Minnesota Humanities Center and Argosy University.

The exhibition will be at the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum in Perham from Feb. 23 to March 11. It returns to the metro area from April 15 to April 24 at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis; from May 1 to May 15 at the Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester; from July 31 to Aug. 21 at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul; and from Sept. 4 to Sept. 25 at the South Central Community College in Faribault.