Benny's World

Monday, March 14, 2005

My Eyes Are Wide Open

Today, I am posting a featured piece from the DU. As the author says, if you have seen the Wall in DC, your emotions are vulnerable. This is about an outdoor mixed media exhibit in San Francisco and one person's reaction to it as it pertains to the war in Iraq.

March 14, 2005
By Patricia Mack Newton

If you've ever visited the Viet Nam memorial wall, then you know the feeling. You can try to prepare yourself intellectually but your emotions remain as vulnerable as a raw nerve; the pain is instant and searing.

The Eyes Wide Open exhibit (sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee) honors each military casualty with a pair of boots, and Iraqi civilian casualties with a pair of shoes. All kinds of shoes - baby shoes, sneakers, slippers, sexy shoes, orthopedic shoes.

The deceptive beauty of Grape Day Park in Escondido, the warmth of the sunshine, and the squeals of children playing, camouflaged only for a moment the trepidation that enveloped me as I approached 1,514 pairs of boots on the ground. Even in death, their characteristic orderly discipline was evident; reminiscent of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. The sheer volume was stunning.

The Wall of Remembrance honors the fresh young faces of our fallen heroes. Strolling among the rows is heart wrenching. The first thing that struck me was how young they were. 19, 20, 21, 24...

Then the personal items, the very special mementos family members have chosen to commemorate their loved ones, begin to appear, inviting me to come closer, to get to know a little something about the person who had occupied these boots.

Nearby, a patriotic teddy bear promises to salute if I just move his arm to his forehead; I couldn't abide him because I couldn't look more closely at the then-smiling widow and toddler's photo attached to his red, white, and blue ribbon collar.

To read the rest:
Thank you Patricia for sharing your reactions with us on this very moving artistic exhibit. I remember seeing the Wall many years ago for the first time, and I cried openly, even though I was fortunate not to have lost a friend or relative in that senseless war. Seems like the war in Iraq is senseless too, but I guess Bush has concluded that is the only way to detract folks from our shores. Wish he could have gone after the real problem, the Osama.


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