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Sonia Nettnin: Iraq War Memorial Day

Iraq War Memorial Day

By Sonia Nettnin

Numerous Midwest peace, justice and religious organizations placed over 100 coffins on Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago for Iraq War Memorial Day on Thursday.

In remembrance of over 10,000 Iraqis killed and over 800 U.S. soldiers killed since the U.S. invasion of Iraq; people placed flowers, photos and memorial items on the coffins. Each coffin represented the death of 100 individual persons. One hundred coffins – draped in black – represented Iraqi citizens killed during the war and U.S. occupation. Eight coffins represented U.S. military personnel.

A leaflet distributed at the event explained the coffins represented other people impacted by the war. They include: untold thousands of Iraqi soldiers killed, some reportedly forced to fight at gunpoint; dozens of Iranian and Arab pilgrims killed as they visited holy sites in Iraq; many Iraqis tortured by U.S. soldiers in the prisons of Iraq; Iraqis who died in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraqis who died from 13 years of sanctions and “no fly zones.”

Representatives of organizations called out names on a loudspeaker while people conversed in the plaza.

On the leaflet someone wrote: “We grieve the impact this war has had on the family and friends of those who have died or were injured. For them, life will never be the same.”

In an international day of emergency protest, a march to the U.S. Pentagon takes place on June 5th in Washington D.C. The date marks the anniversary of the 1967 war in which Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza. sponsors the upcoming march.

Sponsors of the memorial include: Circle of Life Affinity Group; Eighth Day Center for Justice; Voices in the Wilderness; and American Friends Service Committee.

Statistics used for the memorial are from the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website ( Iraqi deaths are from

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