Today Chelan, Washington is hosting the Eyes Wide Open exhibit. Anne and I have been helping to organize this day for the last six weeks. Hundreds of combat boots are arranged on the corners of a busy downtown intersection, representing civilians and the 366 National Guard soldiers who have died in Iraq.
Like I said, this is a busy corner with tourists from all over the state who are here to enjoy our 50-mile-long lake. Most of the walkers stop for a moment to take a careful look. It's a memorial to the dead, a remembrance of The Human Cost of War. It's a place for conversation. One teacher passing by jerked himself to a stop when he noticed the name of one of his elementary students whose name was attached to a pair of boots. Another young woman lay on the ground next to a pair of boots, stroking the toes of the boots that bore the name of her onetime best friend.
Thanks to the American Friends Service Committee for this exhibit, and for their persistent attention to the possibilities for peace. Almost 2600 U.S. soldiers have died since the start of the war. Perhaps 100,000 Iraqi civilians has suffered death. No matter what a person's position on the war, almost all of us can grieve the high human cost. Almost all of us can turn our best efforts and intentions toward the goal of peace. Today in Chelan, we're looking at boots, remembering the reality of death, and seeking best paths forward for compassion and peace.