Thursday, July 5, 2007

Combat boots line Cabrillo


More than 300 combat boots used by soldiers in the Iraq war lined Cabrillo Boulevard yesterday, a display organizers hope will be a vivid reminder of the lives lost in the conflict.
As of this morning, 381 Californians have been killed in the war in Iraq, with the total American body count at 3,585, said Tom Urban, of Veterans for Peace, Santa Barbara Chapter.

“We’re trying to emphasize the cost of the war,” Urban told the Daily Sound. He said many of the people who visited the display “had no idea this many people from California have died in the war.”
The Veterans for Peace partnered with American Friends Service Commission, a Quaker organization, to bring the combat boot display to the grass in front of Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort.
Families of soldiers donated the majority of the boots, Urban said, and similar displays are held around the country. Also on display were shoes representing women and children killed in the war and a board with the names and pictures of California soldiers, along with how they were killed.
“We haven’t had any negative reaction,” Bob Handy, a Santa Barbara resident with the Veterans United for Truth and a retired Navy chief. The board has been on display throughout California, and families with sons or grandsons listed have come out to view it, Handy said.
The median age of the Californian soldiers killed is 23, with an average of two casualties each day, according to the display. Handy pointed out space left on both ends of the board, saying they will have to start adding new sections soon. A dozen black silhouettes with white question marks followed the last photograph of a soldier.
The Veterans for Peace also organize the Arlington West Iraq war memorial on the beach near Stearns Wharf every Sunday, where they plant 3,000 white crosses and American flags in the sand, representing all the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the Iraq conflict.

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