Veterans for Peace, Arlington West, and their Tribute for our Troops

Apr 14, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Every Sunday for the last five years, Veterans for Peace have created the stunning tribute for our troops entitled, “Arlington West.”

It’s physically located on the north side of the Santa Monica Pier.

Quoting directly from 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 acknowledge 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.

It’s overwhelming to see the crosses lined up:

The myriad of personal messages left by individuals here put into perspective just how many soldiers have given their lives for the cause of freedom, which we too often take for granted.

While I was under the white tent pictured above, I talked with one of the members of the Veterans for Peace. I asked him what the symbolism and significance of the red crosses were.

He schooled me real good:

As the number of our American serviceman casualties increases daily, each red cross represents 10 deaths.

The flag draped coffins with the blue crosses in the first picture, represent those who’ve lost their life just in the last week.

As you recall, I when I visited Westwood not too long ago, I encountered a Military Funeral at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.

Because I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for many years, I’ve been to Arlington Cemetery numerous times.

Seeing the rows and columns of the headstones of our fallen soldiers, graphically puts into both visual and symbolic form the reality of the cost of war.

Arlington West left an even larger impression on me because of the simplicity of the crosses in the sand. The idea and act of human hands, each implanting a cross, all lined up in perfect rows, sent a shiver of reality down my spine.

So even while I was at the Santa Monica Pier, for fun in the sun, Travelin’ Local, frequently, can also mean finding remembrance in my heart.

How about your neighborhood? When you’re Travelin’ Local do you encounter things that “bring a tinge of sorrow?”

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4 Responses to “Veterans for Peace, Arlington West, and their Tribute for our Troops”

  1. David says:

    Lisa, this story is testament and tribute to your journalistic skills and as well toward the emotional content that you’ve covered about Arlington West. I never knew about the Veterans for Peace organization. This news, and your reporting about other places and things that you’ve discovered and documented in the Los Angeles and Santa Monica area, make Travelin’ Local, an everyday must for me.

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  2. LisaNewton says:

    @ David I was so moved, just standing there looking at all the crosses and the people they represented. Your comment made my day……………:)

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  3. Lara says:

    Being in middle Tennessee means we have a lot of civil war era family grave sites along nearly every roadway. Some of the original homes still sit alongside, but most are now sitting alongside new housing developments- I’ll have to remember to get a pic of the one that’s nearest me. They actually moved the plot when a housing development went up and it’s practically in the first homes’ back yard. Wild. But I’m always wondering about the family that lived in those places…

    I love that there is an Arlington West. Having lost a friend myself in Iraq, this particular post was very touching.

    Lara’s last blog post..Apple blossoms

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  4. Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com says:

    Lisa. I appreciate your honest coverage of the topic. It moved me although I am not an American guy.

    Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com’s last blog post..Protect Your Blog Or Get Hacked Like PracticeThis.com Was

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