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by Larry Sunday, Sep. 24, 2006 at 8:16 AM

Arlington West Memorial is an educational outreach project sponsored by Veterans for Peace illuminating the cost and consequences of war and occupation while acknowledging those whose lives lost by the terrorism of war and occupation .

Every Sunday since February 15th 2004, a temporary memorial is erected in the sand just north of the pier at Santa Monica Beach in Los Angeles, California by the local chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) and other volunteers as a way to acknowledge the costs and consequences of war as an instrument of international policy and to mourn the loss of life at the hands of violence and the terrorism of war.

Erected nearby stands a "wall" now about 45 feet in length similar to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., listing all the fallen American military personnel since the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq to the present day. Visitors can read any of the many names, ages, rank, hometown and circumstance of death, and are invited to select and write the name of a fallen military person on a piece of paper along with any thoughts or sentiments and attach this to a cross along with a flower. Many family members and close loved ones have come and dedicated their own words and mementos for their loved ones.

Another sign nearby beckons attention to the number of Iraqi's killed, now numbering by some estimates to be well over 100,000, affirming that the number of crosses required to acknowledge them would fill the entire beach. Another sign recognizes the number of journalists killed and or missing to date.

Recognizing that life is representative of concentric circles of interconnected relationships, each cross represents more than simply the loss of one individual life due to war.

Arlington West offers a place to contemplate the human cost, consequences, and causes of war, and to grieve and acknowledge those who've lost their lives and to keep their memory alive and to care for those still living, their wounds, though invisible, being no less painful than the loss of a loved one.

Originally conceived by Stephen Sherrill, a local carpenter in Santa Barbara, California in November 2003, the concept of Arlington West was quickly embraced by the Santa Barbara Chapter of Veterans for Peace and 340 wooden crosses were erected in the sand alongside the pier at Sterns Wharf and dedicated as 'Arlington West.' Santa Monica Beach was chosen by the Los Angeles Chapter of Veterans for Peace and was established February 15th, 2004.

Volunteers are welcome. Setup starts at 7:15 am on Sunday mornings - rain or shine - and take down starts just before sunset Sunday evenings.

Arlington West has since been adopted by many local chapters of Veterans for Peace around the State of California as well as around the country.

Arlington West Memorial
is a non-partisan and non-sectarian memorial.

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