1492 Empty Pairs of Boots
Support the Eyes Wide
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Cindy Sheehan
To Whom it May Concern:
My son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. It
is appalling to me that so many Americans are offended by the sight
of a true American hero coming home in his/her coffin? Are we so ashamed
of our children that they have to sneak back into America in the cover
Exhibits like Eyes Wide Open from the American Friends Service Committee
(ASFC) and Arlington West from Veterans for Peace serve two important
purposes, as I see it.
The first purpose is to honor our children who have made the supreme
sacrifice for their country. After the 21-gun salute and after our
children are cremated or lowered into their permanent, premature graves,
they are forgotten about by almost everybody. Except by their families
who mourn them every second of everyday. Where is the war memorial
for our honored dead? Such memorials are simply that: remembering our
loved ones sacrifice and the sacrifices we as families are forced to
The second purpose of memorials like EWO and Arlington West are to
show the American public what a number looks like. One sees the number:
1492 (official DoD number as of today) and it's hard to process that
number. Out of millions of Americans...it almost seems insignificant.
But when one sees 1492 pairs of empty boots that will never be filled
again by living, vibrant human beings, one begins to understand that
1492 is not just a number. It is so hard not to look at the empty boots
of EWO and the white crosses of Arlington West and not be hit with
the magnitude of the loss. Look at all the people who are never coming
home to hug their mothers. Each pair of empty boots, or each white
cross, represents a mother who will never see her child, or hear the
sound of their precious baby's voice again. Each boot must conservatively
represent dozens of negatively altered lives.
We as Americans haven't experienced the horrors of war since the American
Civil War. We don't experience street battles or indiscriminate deaths
of thousands of innocent people. We are waging an unjust war in Iraq,
and the average American citizen doesn't even want to know about the
horrors of this war.
I, as the mother of a dead soldier whose boots are in the Eyes Wide
Open Exhibit, fully support what the American Friends Service Committee
is doing to enlighten the citizens of our country to the true horrors
of war. We families of fallen soldiers don't need the visual to comprehend
the tragedy and the trauma but America does.
When I was in Washington, DC for the Inauguration protests, I went
to the EWO exhibit. I was one of the speakers for the opening event.
I found Casey's boots and I sat by them sobbing. I caressed his boots,
because I can't caress him anymore. I know they are not even his boots,
but it was very meaningful to me and I was honored that the Friends
would do this for my son and my family.
I fully support any family's rights to not have their child's name
tagged on a pair of boots. To me, Gold Star Families need to have the
final say on this. I wouldn't want to cause one of them an even infinitesimal
amount of pain: they have been through enough already. I wish that
those same people would support the ASFC in its right to demonstrate
the organizations position on war. After all, why did our children
die if Americans can't exercise their Constitutional rights? Gold Star
Families for Peace (GSFP) and Casey Sheehan's family fully support
the ASFC's right to do what they are doing in the name of Peace.
Please visit www.AFSC.org to see if the exhibit will be near your town
in the future. I am going to Dallas on Monday, Feb 28th to support
the Friends and the organizers of the event. If any of you are in the
area..check out the website to see where the exhibit is...the protest
is planned for 11 AM.
Love and Peace!!!
Mother of Hero: Spc Casey Austin Sheehan KIA 04/04/04
Casey's Peace Page
Co-Founder of Gold Star Families For Peace
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION