Candles -- not 4,000 -- mark U.S. Iraq War deaths


What was billed as a lighted-candles representation of America's war dead in Iraq turned into an auditory display Monday evening, thanks to the supportive honking of passing cars on El Camino Real as demonstrators read the names of 423 soldiers from California who have died in the war.

The vigil took place at El Camino and Castro Street, starting at about 7 p.m. and ending shortly before 9 p.m.

Lack of a source of electricity kept the approximately 50 demonstrators from adding to the candlelight observance with other lights. But demonstrators had many small lit candles in red plastic cups, and some carried signs reading, "End the debacle. Impeach," "Peace instead," and "Out now. Bring our troops home."

"When another soldier dies, a part of me dies," said Karen Meredith, a Mountain View resident and prominent member of Mountain View Voices for Peace. Her own son, Lt. Ken Ballard, died during a firefight in Iraq nearly four years ago.

"California has had its fair share of casualties," she said of the 426 dead. A small memorial to her son was placed nearby on a grassy area.

Paul George, director of the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center in Palo Alto, and his partner, psychologist Stephanie Reader, cited non-fatal casualty figures of about 30,000 wounded, about 3,000 of whom have severe brain injuries.

"We don't even begin to know the damage" to people's lives caused by the injuries and stress the soldiers have undergone, including damage to marriages and relationships due to post-traumatic stress disorder, Reader said.

The Rev. Archer Summers, senior pastor with the First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto, said he hopes that "in the days of Easter that we in fact will start anew."

He said many people are "clueless on what is going on in Iraq."

Participants in the vigil came from Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto.

The names of three other war dead from California were not read because they haven't yet been added to the official list and were not available.


Like this comment
Posted by joel
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 25, 2008 at 12:22 pm

A national tour featuring decorated veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan won't be stopping at Forest Lake Area High School today as planned, after school leaders abruptly canceled the visit.

Steve Massey, the school principal, said the decision to cancel was prompted by concerns that the event was becoming political rather than educational and therefore was not suitable for a public school.

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Posted by No to PPJC
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 25, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Either the reporter who wrote the original story announcing this event misled us or the organizer, PPJC, did:

Web Link

There were no 4000 candles apparently-in fact if you look at oneo fth epictures posted it appears that they could not even get all of the paltry number of candles there lit.
Some show of respect for our troops who have given their lives.
What else have been misled about by these organizations?

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Posted by Thank Our Lucky Stars For The Internet
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2008 at 8:44 am

> He said many people are "clueless on
> what is going on in Iraq."

The US Military provides an excellent web-based news source of its activities and basic data--like casualty counts:

Web Link

Lots of pictures, video and audio--all anyone has to do is "log on" to find out what's happening in the many places around the world that our brave men and women are serving the folks back home, and helping to pass the flame of democracy to those who yearn to be free.

Don't expect to get much information from the guy who uttered the almost meaningless sentiment above--go to the source and educate your self.

Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 10:42 am

the most clueless are those who read and listen only to the pap fed them by the mainstream media.

please note: Iraq is hardly mentioned in the news now..gosh, what could that mean?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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