One blog I've been following is just lovely. No, it's truly lovely. It's the blog of artist Nancy Hiss, following her Iraq Names Project. On the blog she says:
Go visit her blog. See her drawings. View the names. Such simple, powerful stuff. It's too easy for us to forget we are a country at war, and that people are dying every single day because of it. Thank you Nancy!
On Memorial Day of this year, I knelt down in front of the Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building and wrote March 21, 2003 in chalk. As I was writing two guards walked out and watched over me. When I finished they asked, “March 21? What is that?” I responded, “That was the first day that a soldier died in the Iraq war.” I handed them a written description of the project and they walked away.
Then I wrote; Aubin, Beaupre, Cecil, Childers, Evans, Gutierrez and on and on. To date, I have written 2,445 names covering over 6 miles. The Iraq Names Project is a memorial, a demonstration, a personal cleansing; it is an act to honor sacrifice and to recognize interdependence.
The concept is so simple it can be explained by a five -year old. The act is so simple it can be shared by Girl Scouts, eighty year old women, students, friends, neighbors, passersby, draft age boys, survivors of Nazi Germany, veterans, everyone. Over 100 people have knelt down with me on the sidewalk to share in this experience. Some people chalk in one name. Some people come back week after week.
People are drawn to the aesthetic of the beautifully drawn names. Many are amazed that it spans 6 miles and I am only on March 2006. Many say that it is powerful. Some are moved to tears. Some stop to tell stories.
You are right it's sometimes easy to forget we are a country at war. Except today I have to go get some Visa Giftcards and mail some stuff out for a co-worker who is stationed in Iraq. I do stuff for him when he asks and we went him a big care package for the holidays. They really have it rough over there let me tell you.
I noticed that the female soldiers had a gender marker chalked next to their names. This seemed a fine example of Woman As Other ("Here are the soldiers, and here are the female soldiers.").
It made me uncomfortable.
That is impressive.
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