In October, 2007 Stephen Kobasa, representing Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice, a Connecticut interfaith peace and justice group proposed that a monument be erected at the corner of Broadway and Elm near the Civil War memorial to remember those killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The proposal for a temporary memorial lasting until the end of the Iraq War was approved by the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreations and Defense.
Initially the memorial consisted of a cairn of 56 ten-pound stones, representing the 56 months since the start of the Iraq conflict. On the first Monday of each month, a new stone has been added to the pile. Each stone is painted with the month and the number of Iraqi and Afghani civilian, and American military personnel killed during the previous month.
The memorial gives weight in numbers both literally and metaphorically to the human cost of these wars. After 14 years in Iraq there is no end in sight.
Tomorrow, May 1 at 6pm, we will meet to remember the Iraqi, Afghan and American deaths during April 2017. As of Monday, there will be 168 stones in the cairn.
Ali Perry and Stephen Kobasa coordinate volunteers to lead the 10-15 minute service. Stephen selects the stone and paints the number of dead on it. Volunteers from various faith traditions prepare a short service drawing from poetry, readings, song, and scripture. The volunteer leader’s faith community frequently blesses the stone.
A dozen or so attend each month. Art and I find the service particularly meaningful and always attend if we are in town. We invite you to join us. Consider volunteering to lead the service. Art and I have lead the service at least twice since Maria left. She still attends regularly and leads the service every few months.
See Art or me for more information.