On Saturday, May 29th, 2010, activists gathered on Ocean Breeze beach in Staten Island, New York at 6:30 AM to set up our own memorial to those who were killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Arlington New York State”, an exhibit that has been shown before on the beach, contained 234 pairs of combat boots, donated by American Friends Service Committee’s “Eyes Wide Open” with tags representing soldiers from New York State who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with the combat boots, were markers, some crosses, Stars of David, Crescents representing all those soldiers killed.
“Iraq Memorial To Life” was also set up alongside the ANYS display, which represents a small fraction the 1.2 million Iraqi civilians that died in the invasion and occupation over the last 7 years. There are 1,300 markers displayed with the names of those killed.
People passed the display and stopped to ask questions. Hundreds witnessed the human cost of war, and were moved by it. We were thanked by many, some criticized, but all understood the grave situation that endless wars bring.
At 1 pm we held a press conference where Douglas Mackey from theFellowship of Reconciliation who flew in from Washington state, Salam Talib, an Iraqi engineer who lost his brother, Hugh Bruce, VFP NYC chapter 034, Hesham el-Meligy, representative of the Muslim community on Staten Island, Debi Rose, Citycouncilwoman and Ed Josey, SI President of the NAACP spoke.
At dusk candles were lit, almost 500, and covered with red cups which left a hauting visual effect for all to see.