American service members are still dying in Iraq, and Nancy Hiss is still writing their names, and remembering those who have died.
Sean Neal died in Baghdad on October 23rd. The 19 year old Marine was from Riverside California. Sean loved music and books. Among his favorite books were The Giving Tree and Calvin and Hobbes, as well as Catch 22 and the Bible.
Sean is the first soldier to die in Iraq since November 2011.
CNN International is preparing for the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War. They have asked Nancy to share the Iraq Names Project with their web viewers. You can see it here:
From the artist Nancy Hiss:
On May 26th 2012, I finished a 12.5 mile drawing. The Iraq Names Project is/was a memorial of 4498 names of international coalition forces who died in Iraq – listed chronologically by date of death. Here are some things I learned:
1. WAR is HELL: People join the military for many reasons – people who are teachers, firefighters, and athletes – people who need direction – people who need a job – people with deep-seated ideals – mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. Because the Iraq war was fought by a volunteer force, a very small segment of our population was directly touched by death. These families live the tragedy every day.
2. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE OBLIVIOUS: The greatest interest in the project was in the months before the 2008 election, and when there was a l o n g thread of names. Most times people simply walked by it, on it, or around it. They were either oblivious, or afraid, or not curious enough to engage. Maybe these are reasons we allowed the invasion of Iraq in the first place.
3. POLICE SUPPORTED IT: The police were not oblivious, and even though the project was technically illegal (chalk is a banned graffiti medium), they allowed it to happen and at times explained and defended it. Many police officers are veterans.
4. PORTLAND IS BEAUTIFUL: Hundreds of peopled helped me chalk. They brought me chalk, water, coffee, vegetables, flowers, smiles, and thank-you’s. People in Portland are extremely nice (or oblivious) but never mean-spirited. Thank you. And the view from the sidewalk was always interesting.
5. WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER: I met many homeless veterans. This is intolerable.
6. I CANNOT LET THEM GO: Guilt drove the project and it was not appeased. Maybe because these names represent the tip of the iceberg-of-loss. I am planning a work on paper – a stacked list of names.
Pictured is Sokolowski, 26, from Ocean Township New Jersey. He was a volunteer firefighter.
Since Memorial Day 2007 Nancy Hiss has been chalking the names of coalition soldiers who died in Iraq on the sidewalks of Portland, Oregon.
The names have wound through, SW, NW, N, NE and SE Portland, over 12 miles in a continuous line from the Federal Building to the center of the Burnside Bridge.
To date she has chalked about 4770 names. There are about 30 more she will chalk between now and Memorial Day.
Nancy is about a year, or perhaps 50 names, behind real time. She would like to get caught up over Thanksgiving Weekend. Weather permitting she will be chalking Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am til late morning or early afternoon.
The names are currently on the South side of the Burnside Bridge near the east side of the river. Please come out and chalk, say hello and talk turkey with Nancy. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Nancy is dedicated to writing the name of each coalition soldier who dies in Iraq until the day when no more die.
Philip Jenkins died in Iraq on on September 7th 2010. Philip Jenkins was the first person to die in combat since President Obama’s announced end of combat operations August 31, 2010. Philip Jenkins was from Decatur Indiana and was 26 or 27 years old, depending on the source. A sax player in High School he joined the army when he graduated. He is missed by his wife, daughters and friends and family.
When we first heard of Occupy Wall Street our response was the same as many critics. What are their demands? What do they propose? Why aren’t they protesting in a more meaningful place? Why aren’t they doing it the way we did in the 60s?
The answers came quickly. Their demand is economic justice. They propose reforming the system to end income inequality. They are protesting everywhere, what could be more meaningful? To paraphrase Dylan Get out of the way “if you can’t lend your hand”, so we have been lending our hands.
We found ourselves at the General Assembly Sunday November 13th. We were not in the park, we were on the sidewalk. We were peacefully assembled, petitioning the government for redress. We were incensed when police in full riot gear marched in and forcefully moved us into 4th ave.
First, Nancy will be chalking the word “PEACE” in many languages at Peace Memorial Park, starting after 10am Sunday August 7th.
“How Can We Create a Nuclear-Free World? Not Another Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Fukushima”
Physicians For Social Responsibility and partner organizations are hosting a commemoration of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima will also be a topic with opportunities for everyone to get involved in creating a nuclear free future.
There will be music from The Slants and Portland Taiko and others.
There will be speakers, including Dr. Hideko Tamura Snider, Hiroshima survivor and author of One Sunny Day.
There will be activities, including the making of origami cranes.
The commemoration will be part of the program of the Veterans for Peace National Convention, which is being held in Portland this week.
Japanese-American Historical Plaza (Downtown Portland on the west side of the river just north of the Saturday Market)
Stanley Sokolowki was 26 years old when he died. The Ocean NJ native was a volunteer firefighter, lifeguard and a civilian emergency responder in Iraq. His life long dream was to be a professional firefighter. After returning from Iraq as a civilian he joined the Army and went back. It is far more common for people to first go to Iraq in the military and then return as a civilian contractor, but Stanley was not common. There just are not many vegans in the military, and now there is one less. His family and friends miss him.