The Santa Barbara Chapter of the Veterans for Peace invites the public to join them in reading the names of the US soldiers killed in Afghanistan. This event, called “Arlington West,” will occur Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, at 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the foot of Stearns Wharf, on Cabrillo Blvd. and State St., in Santa Barbara.
“Since 2003, Veterans for Peace Santa Barbara has been placing a cross in the sand for every death in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars,” Said Mary Johnston, VP of the Veterans for Peace Santa Barbara Chapter.
Veterans for Peace started placing crosses in the sand after the first death of the Iraq war.
“We started with one cross in 2003 and ended up with over 3,000 crosses,” said Johnston. “Since the Iraq war ended we have changed over to representing those who lost their lives in Afghanistan.”
A mobile wall with the names of those killed in action in Iraq is still shown alongside the crosses of those from Afghanistan.
“Every cross has the name, rank and D.O.B. and D.O.D. on it,” Johnston added.
Those who survived vividly remember the brave actions of their brothers and sisters that payed the ultimate price to keep our freedoms at home. Some of those who live with those memories may ultimately end up taking their own life, said Johnston.
“We will also have black crosses in the sand to represent the suicides of those who died after coming home. The current statistic is, 1 suicide a day of our Iraq and Afghanistan Vets, but up to 18 a day if all wars are included. ” Johnston said.
“We have this peaceful demonstration to show the cost of war, even though we stop at 1,500 crosses, a sign will be posted with the full number of over 2200 soldiers who died and 2100 wounded” Johnston said.
The “Arlington West” memorial is normally set up the first sunday of each month but is also shown twice a month in the summer. For more information on Arlington West visit the Veterans for Peace website by clicking here.