From where I work on Tremont Street my office overlooks Boston Common- most days the view from the 6th floor is of tourists following the Freedom Trail (or utterly fascinated by squirrels), crazy city joggers, the spare change crew, my loud bible reading friend (who insists I'll be spared if I repent) and all the usual city fixin's.
But a few days ago a Uhaul arrived and unloaded stacks and stacks of rubbermaid containers followed by a small group of people that spent an entire day meticuloulsly lining up pairs of boots and shoes on the ground.
It turns out that Eyes Wide Open is visiting Boston for a while. I had read about it a while back and was hoping I'd get to see it firsthand- There are now 2,037 pairs of boots, one for each soldier killed in Iraq.
I walked over during lunch on Friday. Standing in the middle of rows and rows of pairs of boots- the noise and bustle of the city just seemed to fade away.
Many of the boots had pictures, teddy bears, flowers and letters with them.
There was a whole other section dedicated to countless numbers of Iraqis that have also died in the war.
Most days I honestly don't think too much about what's happening in Iraq. I'm certainly no political activist. Between work, five classes, a part-time job, my family etc most of my time is occupied with all sorts of other concerns. And that's the problem- as a country most of us are not stopping to consider what is going on and has been going on for quite some time now. We still haven't even been told the real reasons why we're fighting the war in the first place.
More than 2,000 Americans and an estimated 100,000 Iraqis have died since the conflict began. Visiting Eyes Wide Open- seeing the shoes of little kids, the photos and letters... Standing amongst all of the boots knowing that so many people are gone- it took a faraway conflict and dropped it in my lap.
It's time that we get some straight answers from our government. Why did we really go to Iraq? I think many would agree that the US never expected to find weapons of mass destruction. I've heard President Bush say on several occasions that the best way to honor those soldiers who were killed is to 'get in there and finish the job.' Does anyone even know what the job is? How about making sure that no other American or Iraqi is put in harm's way instead? How about some honesty and integrity?
It's time for a plan to resolve the mess we've all helped to create. It's time to start paying attention.
How far have we really come?
Despite the miseries
And the lessons learned from history
The pattern still repeats
Never to surrender don't you ever repeat
How far have we really come?
Until the ones who are leading us
Make peace their resolution tonight
Make peace your resolution tonight
There's an arms race to be run
Building bigger better dagger headed bombs
So let's drink to the daughters and sons
Never to return to their mother's arms
For every battle lost and won are these the ones that we offer up?
(lyrics by powderfinger)