2011-11. Arlington West Memorial: 8 Years and Counting
November 16th, 2011
Santa Monica. Los Angeles County, California, U.S.A.
November 11, 2011.
The armistice that ended the First World War was signed on November 11th, 1918. Since, many allied nations have adopted the date to commemorate members of the armed forces who have served in a war. In the United States, this day is observed as Veterans Day.
This year’s holiday marks the eight anniversary of a unique commemoration carried out by the Los Angeles chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) on the sands of world-renowned Santa Monica Beach. Every Sunday since Veterans Day 2003, numerous VFP members and volunteers have been erecting a temporary and symbolic cemetery aptly named Arlington West Memorial. White crosses represent one fallen Iraq or Afghanistan War veteran, while red crosses represent ten U.S. servicepersons killed in action in these two wars.
Michael Lindley, Vietnam War veteran and Arlington West co-coordinator, states: “I do it because it needs to be done. The public needs information… This whole idea of war to solve issues is not the way to go… The human and economic costs of war are outrageous. There is no good answer to a war. We could fund the entire Los Angeles Unified School District for a year with what we have spent on these wars in one day. And so we have classrooms with 40 kids in them.”
According to a February 2011 article by Agence France-Press, “the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq will allow for a reduced US defense budget in 2012 but the war in Afghanistan still costs the United States close to 300 million dollars a day.” (1)
For more statistics on the economic cost of the wars, please visit The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s Funding Chart as well as the website Cost of War managed by the National Priorities Project.
Lisa Green, resident of Venice who has ran for congress through the Green Party and is a recurring volunteer, states: “We need to expose the fact that wars are corporate driven. The amount of human suffering has devastating effects on our societies and our planet, which is our home.”
The Arlington West Memorial displays numerous signs with updated statistics. Besides U.S. military servicepersons killed or wounded, it also brings attention to the more than 1.5 million Iraqi and Afghani civilians killed since 2001.
When asked about why he wears Bradley Manning pins on his hat, Michael Lindley replies: “Bradley Manning is a hero. He took the opportunity to share information with the public that we needed to hear.” Bradley Manning is a U.S. Army soldier who has been accused of allegedly passing classified data to WikiLeaks and held in solitary confinement since July 2010.
The website antiwar.com records the official numbers of U.S. soldiers killed since 2001: Iraq: 4,483 and Afghanistan: 1,833. Nevertheless, these numbers pale in comparison to those who make it back and are permanently scarred physically or psychologically: 33,183 veterans have been wounded or injured and CBS reported in 2010 of a suicide epidemic among returning veterans with 18 taking their own life every day. (2)
Arlington West Memorial home page click here.
1 “Afghan war costs $300 million a day: Pentagon“ http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gNQ3JbWwd6t-PzkuECkRJvsAlNkA
2 Keteyian, Armen. “VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show”. July 30, 2010.