Memorial Mile: Veterans display tombstones of fallen service members in Iraq and Afghanistan wars

Veterans for Peace will be displaying more than 6,900 tombstones from dawn on May 26 through dusk on Memorial Day on 8th Avenue just east of 31st Street as part of their Memorial Day Weekend event to remember soldiers 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 eleventh year VFP has set up the display, and in 2008 they 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 feels that these losses cannot be adequately understood with facts and figures alone. The visual impact of the tombstones conveys their reality.

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 them 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, VFP will have posters depicting the costs of war.

Learn more at the Gainesville Veterans for Peace website:

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