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Group to recognize Fla. soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in war

By Staff | Mar 11, 2009

The cost of war is high for everyone, not just those who have served, or lived, in the hardened battle zones of Iraq.
This is the message the Environmental and Peace Education Center wants to convey, that everyone knows someone — a friend, family member or neighbor — who has paid the cost with their lives.
Now the EPEC plans on honoring the fallen, both military personnel and Iraqi civilians, with a special exhibition at Centennial Park in Fort Myers.
Dubbed “Eyes Wide Open: The Cost of War to Florida,” the exhibit will include 184 pairs of boots representing the fallen servicemen and servicewomen from Florida.
The names of the fallen soldiers will be read in a special ceremony, along with the names of Iraqi civilians who lost their lives in the conflicts.
“At the core of this is to honor those who have served and did die,” said organizer Dana Foglesong. “It’s pretty different from what’s been done. It’s going to represent both sides.”
The event is an offshoot of a national program that began in 2004.
The national exhibit was last displayed Memorial Day weekend 2007 with more than 3,400 pairs of boots displayed in Chicago’s Federal Plaza. As the national project grew, it was eventually split into exhibits for separate states.
Though the EPEC wants to educate the public on the horrors of war, Foglesong said the Lee County-based organization is not trying to push an agenda, merely bringing attention to the war in Iraq and the affect it has on everyone.
“Whether or not you have lost someone or known someone who has died, we are all affected by a component of this,” she said.
The EPEC is expecting “several hundred” people to show up at the event, which encompasses nearly an entire day.
The boot display opens at 11 a.m., with the reading of the names of Florida’s fallen at noon and the names of Iraq’s fallen at 2 p.m.
Foglesong has taken special consideration in making preparations for the event, adding that she feels it is her duty to honor the dead and bring attention to war in general.
Foglesong said she feels personally attached to the war effort, as she poured over more than 100 obituaries of soldiers killed in action.
“I’m 27, so a lot of the people serving are my age,” she said. “It’s the war of my generation, and it’s very personal because of that.”
For more information, contact Foglesong at toopegasus@aol.com or 434-426-9573.