From sunrise to sunset every Sunday since November 2003, a temporary memorial to the human cost of war is set up on the beautiful beaches of California. This memorial is known as the Arlington West Memorial.
The Los Angeles Chapter has been setting up and maintaining this memorial each Sunday on the north side of the world famous Santa Monica Pier since February 15th, 2004.
The Arlington West Memorial offers visitors a visually and emotionally powerful place for contemplation.
Arlington West Mission Statement
In accordance with the Veterans For Peace Statement of Purpose, the Arlington West Mission Statement is to honor
the fallen and wounded to
provide a place to grieve to
the human cost of war to
encourage dialogue among people with varied points of view to educate the public about the needs of those returning from war.
Visiting Arlington West
Visitors to Arlington West will see many placards placed on some of the crosses. In grief over their loss, many family members have dedicated their own words and mementos to their loved ones. A "wall of names" is positioned nearby where the public can review the frequently updated list of fallen American military personnel since the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq. Visitors are welcome to select a name from here and express their own thoughts and sentiments and place these on a cross along with a flower provided for this purpose.
As one stands looking out over the sea of crosses, one will notice a thread of red crosses standing among the
white ones. As the numbers of American lives lost increases daily, one red cross is representative of 10 military personnel each. For those who've lost their lives within the week past are flag draped coffins with blue crosses positioned in front of each of these.
As of November 2008, using
the U.S. government's own “officially
acknowledged” account of miltary fatalities,
the death toll for U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq alone reached 4,174 while those wounded in combat exceeds 60,000. Not included in these numbers are coalition forces, journalists, or private security "contractors."
Also not inlcuded are those military personnel who've taken their own lives through suicide.
CBS News conducted a recent survey of the health departments of all fifty states - with only forty-five of those states reporting - has shown that over the past 12 years alone, an average of 120 veterans per week have taken their own lives through suicide. Our articles page has many more reports to read on this tragic truth.
We are not worth more.
They are not worth less.
As the numbers of military personnel lost and wounded are acknowledged, a sign nearby begs attention to the number of Iraqis killed. Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, published a survey in The Lancet Medical Journal in October of 2006. This survey, known as the "Iraqi Mortality Survey," showed statistically that since the U.S. invasion of March 2003, the number of Iraqi deaths exceeded 655,000. By September 2007, a prestigious British polling firm revised this number to over 1 million Iraqi deaths since the US invasion and occupation of March 2003.
Neither of these two studies include mortality rates from the immediate aftermath of the US led Gulf War of 1991, nor the impact 12 years of sanctions had upon the people of Iraq.
In addition, an estimated 2.5 million Iraqi's have fled the violence in Iraq, seeking refuge in neighboring countries, while an estimated 2 million have been internally displaced from their homes.
The (More Than) Three Trillion Dollar War
As of February 2008, the cost of the U.S. war in Iraq, subsidized in large part by U.S. tax dollars, is estimated to be between $350 to $720 million per day ($500,000 per minute) with costs exceeding $12 billion per month.
We have to ask: Is this all proof the “surge” is working? If this is what the US military “surge” has wrought, one would wonder just many lives have been lost in the name of "anti-Communism" during the so-called "Cold War."
As we acknowledge that life represents concentric circles of intertwined relationships, each cross powerfully represents more than simply the loss of an individual life.
Volunteers Are Welcome
We love volunteers! This has
become a monumental task! Setup starts at 6:00 am
on Sunday mornings - rain or shine - and taken
down just before sunset.
A candlelight vigil is placed at the base of each cross at dusk on special occasions. Please see our volunteer and or the Calendar page for more details.
Arlington West Memorial
is Non-Partisan and Non-Sectarian
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
-- Margaret Mead