Sunday, August 22, 2004

AFSC Letter Printed in Newsweek

In Newsweek at the end of July, a 2/3 page photo of the combat boots from Philadelphia was included in an article entitled "Pain on Main Street." The article told of the 44% of troops killed in Iraq being from small towns. The photo was not well identified, so we wrote a letter calling attention to the nature of the exhibition.

In the August 23rd Newsweek, they published the letter. See below:

"Pain on Main Street" hit home. As the initiator of the American Friend's Service Committee's Iraq war memorial, the traveling exhibit, featured in that article's accompanying photo, I have talked to many families who have lost sons or daughters in Iraq.

In Taunton, MA, our "Eyes Wide Open: The Human Cost of the Iraq War," exhibit was on one side of town and the funeral of fallen soldier John James Van Gyzen, 20, was happening on the other side. After the burial, his mother came to the exhibit, placed a white rose in the pair of boots bearing his name and tied on his photo with red, white and blue striped ribbon. She said, "I guess I belong here."

Since the government has banned photos of flag-draped coffins coming home from Iraq, it has taken an exhibit like this to allow for the real mourning of this nation. No photo can do justice to the feeling of standing in the midst of the empty boots and imagining the lives that should be standing there.

[This part in italics they did not publish] Along with the combat boots, the exhibit contains a 24-foot wall listing the names and incidents of death of over 10,000 Iraqi civilians – three times the number of deaths we suffered on September 11 in a country one-twelfth the size of the United States. You might say that the "Pain on Main Street" is also being felt ten-fold in Baghdad.

Michael McConnell
Regional, Director
American Friends Service Committee


At 5:29 PM, Blogger David Pakman said...

Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.

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