Saturday, May 13, 2006

Standing Sentinel

Well today I got up, went to my aikido class, and headed to a local museum to volunteer at a "mini exhibit" of Eyes Wide Open. The exhibit focused on the deaths in Iraq from my home state of Pennsylvania.

Well to start with, the location of the exhibit left a lot to be desired. A museum that many people in Harrisburg, PA don't know exists. I would have pushed to have the exhibit placed a location where there'd have been more of an impact; maybe one of the colleges, or the Capitol Rotunda (the exhibit fit nicely in a small ballroom). I'd also still like to see a push made to bring the full exhibit to Harrisburg.

But the lack of attendees did give me time to really look at the exhibit and think about some things. For one, the youth of the fallen; the oldest I saw was 51 and the youngest was 19. I'd bet the average age of a fallen soldier is about 25. These are kids who should've had their whole lives in front of them!

Of course, I'd also like to look at where the fallen are from. I'd bet there's a strong correlation between the poverty of an area and the amount of soliders, etc that come out of that area. My hometown, which has been spared from deaths, has a lot of students enlist. There were four and just now a fifth solider from my home county have sacrificed their lives.

There was one incident from my time as a "listener" that did manage to rattle me a bit. A family came in and were walking through the exhibit and I was asked to look up a soldier's name. I managed to do this and locate his boots. The problem was that, when I got done, I was a bit unnerved. I later found that the person was the gentleman's stepbrother. I guess the whole thing really made the idea that these were PEOPLE.

Of course, I wonder how many people who claim to "support the troops" are willing to go to something like an "Eyes Wide Open", where the human toll, both American and Iraqi civilan are put into full view.

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