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March 16: Palo Alto "Eyes Wide Open" Event at King Plaza (in front of City Hall)
On the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, these boots and shoes are still empty.
Marking the 10th anniversary of its formation, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice invites you to its "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit on Saturday, March 16th at King Plaza (Hamilton & Ramona in Palo Alto). Empty boots bearing the names of California military killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are place in rows for silent meditation. Unnamed shoes represent the thousands of civilian casualties, young and old. You are invited to this time of reflection on the true cost of war, the lost opportunities for making peace, the sacrifices of those who fought, the devastation wrought upon the people and land of Iraq and Afghanistan, and our eternal hope for an end to war. We pray that as we honor all the lives lost, we will learn how desparately we must redirect the focus of our nation to the ways of peace.
March 20, 2013 will be the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice (MVPJ) will be highlighting the cost of continued war in our world. MJVP and others sponsored this display in May 2008 and we felt the event was moving and appropriate, even more so now with continued (and expanded) hostilities around the world.
The display will be monitored at all times. The boots will be in place by 10am in the morning on Saturday, March 16, and taken up again at sunset that day (approximately 7:30 p.m.). Short programs will be held throughout the day.
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10am Opening Program - Sounding of the Shofar (Jewish Call to Prayer) followed by featured speakers County Supervisor Dave Cortese, Peninsula Peace & Justice Center director Paul George, and Veteran for Peace Doug Nelson. Jason Materne from American Friends Service Committee will explain the history of the Eyes Wide Open exhibit. Music will be led by Chris Lundin from St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and MVPJ Steering Committee.
1:30pm Midday Program will begin with Muslim Prayers. Speakers include Phil Pflager from Veterans for Peace Chapter 101, Samina Sundas, founder and director of American Muslim Voice, and Rev. Geoff Browning from United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford.
3:30pm Reading of Names of the Dead - The names of military casualites from California and of civilians from Iraq and Afghanistan will be read and honored. The sounding of a Buddhist Meditation Bowl will begin the readings, and the Jewish Mourner's Kaddish will conclude the readings. (If you wish to take part by reading aloud some of the names of civilians and/or military, please arrive at 3:20pm and speak to a program coordinator near the sound system. We will give you a list to review in advance, and be happy to have you participate.)
6:30pm Closing Program - Featured speaker: Karen Meredith from Gold Star Families Speak Out, a mother from Mountain View whose son, 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard, was killed while serving in Iraq. Reflections will be offered by Craig Wiesner, U.S. Air Force Veteran and member of MVPJ Steering Committee. Prayer led by Rev. Dr. Eileen Altman of First Congregational Church, Palo Alto. Music led by Chris Lundin. "Taps" will be played at sundown (approximately 7:30pm) by Chris Iyer from First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto.Sign up to volunteer for 1 hour or more on Saturday, March 16 by [http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0E4FA5AD2AA57-eyes; clicking here]. (There will always be MVPJ steering committee members present to orient and support you.)
The display consists of pairs of boots identified with the names of California servicemen and women who have been killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They are placed so that attendees can walk between them, read the names on the identifying tags, and honor their service to our country. We also plan to display footwear to represent the deaths of civilian casualties, which greatly exceed our country's military deaths.
(You can read more about the American Friends Service Committee's display at https://afsc.org/campaign/eyes-wide-open.)
Check out a video of the 2008 display in Palo Alto (Thanks to TD of PPJC).
If your organization is interested in being a co-sponsor of this event, please click here to provide us with your contact name and organzation information, and we will be in touch quickly.