From May 11-14, 2006 September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows joined with the American Friends Service Committee, Gold Star Families for Peace, Gold Star Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War for Silence of the Dead, Voices of the Living. The four-day event called on Congress to bring our troops home now. The centerpiece of the event was the AFSC’s traveling exhibition, Eyes Wide Open: The Human Cost of War, which featured a pair of combat boots for each U.S. military casualty in Iraq and a labyrinth of civilian shoes, initiated by Peaceful Tomorrows, serving as a memorial to the Iraqis who died in the war.
Aside from legislative visits and a march to the Capitol that included international conscientious objectors, Peaceful Tomorrows sought to increase the Iraqi presence at the event, particularly an Iraqi named Vivian, the lone survivor of from an attack by American troops that killed her husband and children. Peaceful Tomorrows could not secure a visa for her as she “did not have sufficient family ties to ensure her return to Iraq.” Please read her letter, read at the event by a Gold Star Mother, here. Peaceful Tomorrows did, however succeed in helping to bring other Iraqis to the event including journalist Raed Jarrar, Sami Rassouli of the Muslim Peacemaker Team and Samir Adil of the Iraqi Freedom Congress.
Peaceful Tomorrows and the American Friends Service Committee also added a new component to the exhibit in the form of panels that included photographs of Iraqis in everyday life as well as in varying stages of grief, along with text panels telling the biographies of slain Iraqis and describing the effects of the war on Iraqi society.
At the beginning of the exhibit on May 11, 2006 there were 2,428 pairs of boots on display. By May 14, the number of casualties had risen to 2,437.
The 2,428 pairs of military boots on display on the Mall.
View of the civilian shoe labyrinth portion of the Eyes Wide Open exhibit.
Peaceful Tomorrows’ Terry Kay Rockefeller addresses the issue of Iraqi civilian casualties.
Another view of the civilian shoe labyrinth portion of the Eyes Wide Open exhibit.