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May 25, 2008

Arlington West

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07 49N36A

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The Los Angeles chapter of Veterans for Peace is just one of at least twenty groups around the country that has taken up the Arlington West project.

Every Sunday since February 15th, 2004, the group has erected one cross near the Santa Monica pier for each soldier killed in Iraq.  The original project started in November 2003 in Santa Barbara motivated by the government’s Dover media ban.  Ron Kovic and other special guests will be in attendance tomorrow, Memorial Day.

If the beach is the ultimate place to escape and play, the reflection — in high-tech reflective glasses, such as those we have seen on so many soldiers — is both a dramatic jolt, as well as vivid appeal to look hard at the loss of life.

The second image, beyond the reminder that protesting this war is an act of patriotism, provides an eloquent look at the transition of playground to hallowed ground.

It’s this third image, however, that I find the most unusual, calling out the government’s blackout simply through its composition.  What we see is the storage space for the mock coffins under the Santa Monica Pier. The way the light comes through the ceiling and the slats in the doors, however, creates the most unusual evocation of the scene at Dover.  You can compare here at Wikipedia.

By the way, I owe a special thanks to photographer Mathieu Grandjean for permission to use these pictures.  His full Arlington West Memorial photo series is available here.

Arlington West website with Memorial Day commemoration information

mathieugrandjean.com



(images © Mathieu Grandjean)

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