Statement issued Wednesday:
Eyes Wide Open, the American Friends Service Committee’s widely-acclaimed exhibition on the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, features a pair of empty boots honoring each U.S. military casualty.
The exhibit started in January 2004 when the US casualties in Iraq numbered 500 as a local project in Chicago. As the casualties grew so did the exhibit and it toured the country extensively until May 2007, when the casualties in Iraq numbered 3500 and it was determined to split the exhibit up into smaller state-based exhibits. Eyes Wide Open has been seen by millions of people across the country and has involved thousands of volunteers. Eyes Wide Open continues to tell the story of the human cost of war in 46 states with boots representing US deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and shoes representing Iraqi and Afghan civilians.
The Indiana Exhibit, which will make its local debut on the Plaza of Allen County Public Library this Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, consists of 170 + pairs of combat boots, each pair tagged with the name, hometown, and age of the Casualty. The Exhibit also includes 100 pairs of children’s, women’s and men’s shoes, representing the tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Dave Lambert, one of the organizers, has been a vocal opponent of war since Viet Nam. Lambert has two grandsons in the Army, each of whom has served two tours in Iraq. His oldest grandson is currently serving in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. “Certainly the wars have contributed to our current economic crisis,” Lambert said, “but what often is missing is an understanding of the human costs, both to our troops and the innocent civilians.” He said, “It’s the intent of the Eyes Wide Open exhibit to “Bring the war home.” Lambert is an organizer for Fort Wayne Chapter of Veterans for Peace, and the Indiana Chapter of Military Families Speak Out.
After the Saturday Library Plaza event, the Eyes Wide Open Exhibit will be displayed at Manchester College, IPFW Campus, and other locations.