by Gainesville Veterans for Peace
Veterans for Peace will be displaying more than 6,915 tombstones from dawn on May 27 through dusk on Memorial Day on 8th Avenue just east of 31st Street as part of their Memorial Day Weekend event. This display is to remember those who have died in the wars in Afghanistan since 2001 and in Iraq since 2003.
The tombstones will line the street along 8th Avenue just east of 31st Street, where the Solar System Walk is located. This is the tenth year VFP has set up the display, and in 2008 we had to cross over to the North side of Eighth Avenue due to the continuing number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Veterans for Peace feel that these losses cannot be adequately understood with facts and figures alone. The visual impact of the tombstones conveys the reality of these numbers.
Each tombstone includes the soldier’s name, date of death, age, branch of service, rank and hometown. They will be arranged by date of death and theater of operation.
Veterans for Peace places American flags on tombstones of local service members and on those visited by the public. VFP maintains a Directory at each end of the display, which allows us to help visitors find the loved ones who they have come to visit.
Each year, people come to the Memorial Mile to place flowers and other expressions of love at the tombstones. VFP cleans and cares for the tombstones year round and tries to preserve messages that loved ones have written on the tombstones.
In addition, we’ll have posters depicting the cost of war.
The Gainesville Veterans for Peace web site is at: http://www.vfpgainesville.org/D