Monday, May 28, 2007

Honoring the Fallen, Philly style

First off, a proper musical backdrop while contemplating the real costs of war.

With Philly's Constitution Hall (see pic) providing an iconic back drop, A Memorial Day visual/vigil was set up to honor the men and women in uniform who have died in war. A broad coalition of peace activists from across the Delaware Valley gathered this morning to set up a stunning and evocative tribute in the form of several thousand wooden "tombstones" in honor of the Iraq War dead.

I had the privilege of being a steward of the New Jersey section of the memorial.
In the second picture (click to enlarge) I kneel next to the memorial to Army Specialist Marlon P. Jackson of Jersey City who died much too young at 25, the victim of a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Spc. Marlon P. Jackson was a quiet young man of simple pleasures: basketball, Chinese food and Caribbean music. From Iraq, he asked family to send music magazines and sports clippings. And he never forgot to say thank you. "He always thanked me for everything I did. He was so appreciative," said Vanessa Selby, his self-described stepmother. He was stationed in Vilseck, Germany. He is survived by his mother, Lois La Grenade, and father, Leighton Jackson. Before joining the Army in 1999, Jamaica-born Jackson attended community college. He had become a big brother to Selby's son Khabir, 22, and tutored him in his free time. "He was just becoming a young man, trying to be responsible," Selby said.
I was also touched by the tombstone dedicated to Marine Major John C. Spahr who's from my hometown of Cherry Hill. (see last pic) Needless to say it's sad and moving to consider the toll the Iraq War has taken on the great state of New Jersey.

Isn't 57 too many already?

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