Friday, December 22, 2006

Impromptu Iraq War Memorial, Lafayette, California

David Rust sent me the following account of how he and his wife Debbie visited the display that has aroused debate where it is located in Lafayette -- Someone setting up crosses on a hillside to represent service people killed in Iraq. David mentions that since they visited, someone has tarred over the sign on the site. At the same time a local Iraqi veteran has asked why people in the U.S. don't want to know about the deaths. From David on 21 December 2006 who also sent the photograph:

"Debbie and I stopped off at the Lafayette Iraq war memorial on Sunday on the way back from our weekend in Yuba City. I didn't know what to expect, but seeing the hillside covered in rough-painted, hand-made crosses, I was very moved. It’s a place of quiet, honor, and respect. Each cross symbolizes a soldier who died in George Bush's War On Terrorism. The cross also represents a family and community torn apart by the loss of this son or daughter, friend, and member of the whole.

"There were two men at the site: one was unloading a huge stack of unpainted crosses from the back of his truck; another was painting crosses laid out in the grass. I asked the painter why some of the crosses on the hill had not been painted. He said he didn't know anything about the site and was just helping out. As I watched him, the act of painting a cross took on a physical meaning—white paint imbuing purity and serenity to a violent death—we honor that death.

While we were there, people drove up in their cars, stopped, got out to look, and took pictures. Some left small memorial tokens; others walked up the hill to stand in the midst of the crosses. There's a different feeling up close than looking at the entire field of crosses from across the street. The memorial doesn't have anywhere near 2,937 (and counting) crosses.

"I can understand why some people in this relatively conservative community are very emotional about the memorial. It’s visible: from the freeway, from the BART platform, from the community. It says: “This many American soldiers have died in Iraq—so far.” It was disturbing to hear yesterday that someone painted over the sign with black tar. I may go back this weekend to lend a hand, and paint a cross."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I support this memorial with all my heart and soul. There is an updated site in regards to this, as soon as I find it, I will add it to the link.