Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

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AFSC Action

I don't generally post things about my religion; I tend to believe that everyone has the right to believe what they want, and I express my beliefs in how I interact with the world. But I'm making an exception, to post a link to one of the most recent actions taken by the American Friends Service Committee, the political/social justice and peace group which is associated with the Quaker church.

My mother's side of the family -- including my grandmother -- have often had involvement with the AFSC. I've not been part of AFSC actions for a while, but when I was younger I participated as well. And this particular one is a good representation of the sort of things the AFSC does to raise social awareness.

EDIT: Since I'm stuck on AOL dialup (and my AIM screen names are linked to my AOL account anyway) and thus didn't realize that the article was AOL-members-only, I've included it here. However, the AP article quoted below also is in the Seattle Times, on Salon.com, and a few other places.

The AFSC's own article about it is at http://www.afsc.org/human-face/us/boots.htm

Empty Boots Honor Iraq War Dead

CHICAGO (Jan. 21) - More than 500 pairs of empty Army boots were placed side-by-side in downtown Chicago Wednesday to serve as a reminder of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

The black boots, some dusty and dirty from use, were placed on Federal Plaza in front of a posterboard display that listed the names, ages and states of all soldiers killed in the war.

"These young men and women will not have died in vain if truth triumphs," said Michael McConnell, regional director of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker peace and social justice group that sponsored the memorial.

He referred to President Bush's State of the Union address a day earlier in which the president urged the nation to stay the course. "We say reverse the course," McConnell said. "Admit that this war was fought under false pretenses."

The United States has not been able to find any banned weapons in Iraq, which in large part was Bush's justification for going to war.

White House spokesman Jim Morrell said Bush "appreciates that we live in a free society where people are free to express their views. But as the president said ... the world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein's regime."

The memorial served as a powerful symbol for visitor Becky Schillo.

"You hear about one or two soldiers being killed, then 500," the 24-year-old said. "It kind of hits home."

As of Wednesday, 503 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq, both from hostile and non-hostile causes, according to the military.
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