THE AMERICA, AFGHANISTAN & IRAQ

CHILDREN’S MEMORIAL

The America, Afghanistan and Iraq Children's Memorial made its first public appearance April 25, 26, and 27, 2005, in Tucson, Arizona.  The Memorial respectfully remembers the most innocent victims of terrorism and the 'war on terror', that is, the children.  Set up  outdoors, on the west end of the University of Arizona mall, the Memorial's 4,000 small tombstones and its walk-through labyrinth attracted students, professors, university employees, and just plain folks passing by. 

The memorial is gripping.  A tombstone with a picture of Bernard Curtis Brown, of Boston, an 11-year-old Flight 77 victim, rests near another of Mareej Ali Sadam, a 7-year-old girl from Alsabeyat, Iraq, killed by a bomb on April 13, 2003. 

Reactions to the art work spanned the emotions.  Some visitors cried, others were angry, and still others were downright indignant.  As Suzanne Carp, an obstetrical nurse from Sierra Vista, Arizona, put it, "This was hard to see.  It’s  one thing to know intellectually that this is happening, but quite another thing to have it right in your face.  Ahmad  Hashem Mzeil, an Iraqi citizen working as a dishwasher in Tucson, Arizona, in order to send money home to his family in Baghdad, asked if the memorial could be displayed in his home city.   He said, "This recognizes that we are all, whether American, Afghan, or Iraqi, the same people, with the same hearts.  It could demonstrate the compassionate side of Americans to the people of Iraq."  Debbie Hanson, a University of Arizona employee, supports the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Through tears, she said, "We have to make sure that this never happens again."  Leigh Schubert, an Archeologist from King Salmon, Alaska, asked to be left quietly alone within the labyrinth, because, "this is a sacred place", she said.

Visitors to the memorial are encouraged to enhance individual tombstones with art work, poetry, or prose as a way of adopting the memory of one of the children.  Many tombstones were inscribed with comments such as, 'I will not forget you', and 'May God be with you.'  David, only six and a half years old himself, wrote, 'Never seen again', on the tombstone for an unknown Afghan boy. 

The creator of the Memorial, Dale Clark, is an artist, sculptor, filmmaker, activist and octogenarian from Bisbee, Arizona.   He began work on the memorial because in his words, he, "was shocked and riveted by the overwhelming, yet unintentional, loss of 4,000 children. War is hard on the innocents.  War is hard on kids.  They didn't volunteer for this.  It is important to me to alert others to this tragedy.  I'm dyslexic. I don't write.  I can't even spell.  I make my statements tangibly, through art and film."  With this art work Clark says, "I am intentionally making myself vulnerable to stimulate dialog.  With the Children's Memorial, and with my life, I want to say, 'Love and respect all humanity because that's what we are.'  We are not exclusively right or exclusively wrong.  We are, all of us, going through this process of realization.  Where we are now is our highest truth, but it is possible to move to a higher truth, without negating where we stand now.  Individuals, nations, and even the cosmos, are always changing.  With this Memorial I hope to inspire respectful conversations from many perspectives."  At the end of hostilities, or another appropriate time, Mr. Clark plans to auction the tombstones, donating the proceeds to non-profit groups working directly with the child survivors of the 'war on terror' in all three of these countries.

Research on independent websites such as Iraq Body Count, the Afghan Victim Memorial Project and the September 11, 2001 victims list provided the names and causes of death of child victims, as well as the most conservative estimate of 4,000 children killed.

So far, Mr. Clark has been personally funding the production of The Children's Memorial from the proceeds of sales of his art work and t-shirts.  In order to reach a broader audience, he hopes to find deep pockets or organizations wishing to take over the project.  He is also making the tombstone molds, the list of lost children, and his technical expertise available to anyone, either in another part of the U.S. or in another country, who wishes to replicate the Children's Memorial.  He is available for interviews.  For more information about interviews or hosting The Children's Memorial, visit www.stupidwise.com , or email dcstupidwise@yahoo.com .

HOME

CHILDREN'S MEMORIAL HOME