On Friday and Saturday, February 2 and 3, a partial exhibit of Eyes Wide Open, an Exhibition on the Human Cost of the Iraq War (National Guard Memorial), was displayed on the mall of the University of Arizona. Sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Arizona Presbyterian Campus Ministry, this exhibit has travelled around the country, sadly growing as it travels.The full exhibit currently has over 3000 pairs of boots. The February 2-3 exhibit displayed approximately 458 pairs of boots - 80 pairs in memory of Arizona soldiers (three of whom were Army National Guard) and the rest in memory of National Guard members from throughout the nation who lost their lives in the current Iraq war. Some of the boots were those worn by the fallen soldiers and were donated by their families. The majority were purchased from an army surplus store. The boots above are in memory of PFC Lori Piestewa, 23, of Tuba City, Arizona. She was the first American female soldier to die in Iraq. Piestewa, a single mother of two and a Hopi Indian, was one of the few American Indian women serving in the military.
In addition to the boots, there is an exhibit of 50 pairs of civilian shoes, memorializing the first five hundred Iraqi civilians who were killed in the war. ("A recent estimate from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health ascribed approximately 655,000 civilian Iraqi deaths to the war." See also Iraq Body Count which gives a current estimate of civilian Iraqi deaths.)
"The exhibit is designed to be a memorial to all those who lost their lives in the [Iraq] war. While the AFSC, a faith-based organization, has a historic position against all war, this event is not intended as a protest. ... AFSC champions the dignity and worth of every individual, the sanctity of human life, and humanity's collective responsibility to promote peace."
Quotes are from information provided by the exhibit sponsors. For more information about Eyes Wide Open, go to the American Friends Service Committee web site: www.afsc.org/eyes.