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Eyes Wide Open (exhibit)


Eyes Wide Open is an exhibit created by the American Friends Service Committee observing the American soldiers and marines that have died in the Iraq War. It contains a pair of combat boots to represent every American soldier and marine that has died in the war, as well as shoes representing Iraqi civilians who have lost their lives during the invasion and occupation. The exhibit was first shown in Chicago's Federal Plaza in January 2004. At that time, the exhibit contained 504 pairs of boots.

As of March 2007, the national exhibit contained over 3,400 pairs of boots and had visited more than 100 cities in 40 states. However, as a result of its unmanageable size, the exhibit has been broken down state-by-state. Currently, nearly every state has its own state exhibit. The national exhibit in its entirety would currently contain more than 4,000 pairs of empty boots.

According to the American Friends Service Committee, the intent of the exhibit is to present a visual reminder of the "human cost" of the Iraq War and provide a place for public mourning. Based on public information, the American Friends Service Committee writes the name, age, rank and home state of each soldier and attaches it to a representative pair of boots. As the exhibit travels across the country, family members, friends and sympathizers leave flags, flowers and other mementos with individual pairs of boots. If a family wishes to have their child's name removed from the exhibit, AFSC will replace the serviceman's name with the information "name removed request of family". September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows co-sponsors the exhibit.

In addition to boots representing the deaths of service men and women, AFSC has collected shoes representing Iraqis who have lost their lives during occupation. Few names of Iraqi dead are known. Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi social activist, has collected the names of several thousand Iraqi civilians. These are the names that appear on tags of civilian shoes at Eyes Wide Open exhibits and for another exhibit entitled, "Dreams and Nightmares". AFSC’s Dreams and Nightmares is a memorial to Iraqi civilians that includes photographs and stories of individuals who have lost their lives during occupation.



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Wikipedia

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