Eyes Wide Open, the American Friends Service Committee’s widely-acclaimed exhibition on the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, features a pair of empty boots honoring each U.S. military casualty. The exhibit started in January 2004 when the US casualties in Iraq numbered 500 as a local project in Chicago. As the casualties grew so did the exhibit and it toured the country extensively until May 2007, when the casualties in Iraq numbered 3500 and it was determined to split the exhibit up into smaller state-based exhibits. Eyes Wide Open has been seen by millions of people across the country and has involved thousands of volunteers. Eyes Wide Open continues to tell the story of the human cost of war in 46 states with boots representing US deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and shoes representing Iraqi and Afghan civilians.
I found it profoundly moving. I’ll probably have more to say about this tomorrow, after I sleep on it and process a little more.
The war is over, and yet the violence in Iraq continues. The damage that so many vets have brought home with them continues.
Today members of IVAWSF held a press conference where they read out each the 481 names of military Californians killed in Iraq. Then a member of the Iraqi community in the Bay Area read out a mere fraction of the names of Iraqis killed.
Then in the memory of every veteran who died by suicide since Sept. 11th, 2001, the vets observed ONE SECOND OF SILENCE while standing in pretty ordered ranks blocking the crosswalk across Polk st in front of the SF City Hall stairs.
One second per veteran suicide since Sept. 11th, 2001 took an hour and forty minutes. While there was some doubt for a while, in the end SFPD allowed the action to go forward and didn’t arrest a bunch of Iraq vets observing their fallen comrades by blocking one of the lesser used stretches of San Francisco for a little while.
Good call, that.
Today was the ninth anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq. President Obama declared it a “National Day of Honor”. Great. So how much are you increasing the VA’s budget?
I’ll write more tomorrow, maybe just expand this post. But for now, I’m gonna embed some links and call it a night.
-Pirate, on behalf of TOL