Saturday, October 29, 2005

Eyes Wide Open on Good morning America

A brief shot of Eyes Wide Open at Holyoke Community College appeared on Good Morning America to introduce the story on the 2,000th U.S. military death in Iraq. The photo at right shows the crew setting up.

2000th Death Commemorated in Chicago

250 people filled federal plaza with 2,000 placards each containing an image of a pair of combat boots with the name, rank, age and home state of a fallen U.S. military person. A sister of one of the 44 women who have been killed in the war spoke while holding a portrait of her sister. Two other mothers spoke. One has a son in Iraq and the other’s son has two purple hearts and one bronze star for bravery and will be returning shortly to Iraq. They both spoke eloquently about bringing the troops home now. The president of the Council of Islamic Organizations also spoke holding up all of our humanity. People commented afterward that it was a spiritually renewing experience even though it was commemorating a tragic milestone.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Death Toll in Iraq Mounts

3,663 Iraqis have been killed in war-related violence in the last six months, according to an Associated Press count. This nation is also nearing the 2,000th U.S. military casualty of the war. Given the 'stay the course" policy of the Bush administration, that tragic milestone could be reached before the end of October.

The American Friends Service Committee, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Veterans Against the War have joined in issuing a call for public actions the day after the 2,000th death is announced. The day will be marked with memorials, vigils and other public events that parallel the theme: Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar.

Please go to the AFSC website to sign up to host an event in your community or to RSVP to one that is already planned. Today we are at 132 events in 36 states nationwide.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Ithaca is the home of the St. Patrick's Four. They went into a military recruiting station on St. Patrick's Day in 2003 and poured their blood around to protest the war in Iraq. A jury just acquitted them of the most serious charge of conspiracy. Two of the military officers present when they poured that blood came to Eyes Wide Open.

The officers spent about 15 minutes looking at the names and thanked us for doing it. They would not say whether they were for or against the war. Their point of view is that the people of the United States get what they ask for. One of them left saying that "quite a few chunks of my soul are left here."

The Ithaca Journal is one of the few newspapers to run a photo of the 1,000 shoe representing the 100,000 Iraqi civilians who have died because of the war.
[see above]

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Minneapolis-St. Paul

1,933 pairs of combat boots covered nearly a football field of space at St Catherine's College in St. Paul, MN. On the first day, as scores of volunteers helped lay them out at 6:30am, they found out by the end of the day that another five had been killed.

The shoes representing a portion of the Iraqis killed formed a labyrinth and at least 10 schools from the area sent students to walk through them and see the memorial. On Sunday, people stood 38 deep just to pass by the 14 pairs of real boots donated by the families of U.S. military killed in Iraq.

Nick Coleman, journalist from the Minneapolis Star wrote one of the best, if not THE best articles about Eyes Wide Open in the past year and a half entitled Woeful Footprints of War. It appears on the front page of the Metro section with a huge photo of a woman weeping besides the boots.

He profiles the family of Matthew G. Milczark, age 18 who died in Kuwait in 2004. Matt's father and two aunts slipped a rosary on his boots that Matt had kept on his bed. Two flags, left over from his funeral, had been just sitting in their house, and they didn't know what to do with them. One they left with his boots and another with his best friend's boots, who was killed within a month of Matt's death. The aunts moved all three pairs of boots of the "Carlton County boys" side by side -- so that they could be together.

Nick Coleman came back the next day as well, "when he wasn't working."