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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted February 13, 2013 by
    NancyHiss
    Location
    portland, Oregon
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The war through your eyes: Iraq 10 years on

    The Iraq Names Project

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Between 2005 and 2012, Portland based artist NancyHiss undertook a remarkable art project -- writing the names of coalition forces killed in Iraq on the city's streets in a bid to share their sacrifices and channel frustration about the war. Her husband, Dan Berkman, said the project sparked remarkable responses from passersby. "People stopped and talked about loved ones who were fighting or had died," he said. "People would ask: 'Did you write my brother's name?' They always knew the date." Sometimes mourning families, he said, could even take part in the project. "Nancy could check her list and let them know that she had written their name, or when she was going to write it, so they could join and help," he said. The legacy of the project, he said, was for it to raise awareness about the war and its cost. "It was effective in a small way, people would stop and meditate on the lost lives," he said.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    The Iraq Names Project is a demonstration of loss. It is a 12.5 mile long drawing of the 4498 international coalition forces who have died in Iraq. The names are listed chronologically by date of death, and are drawn with chalk on the public sidewalks of Portland Oregon. The names and dates no longer exist, all washed away by rain. The people are gone, the names are gone.

    I began chalking on Memorial Day 2007. The 4498th name was drawn on May 26th 2012. The project will continue until all troops withdraw from Iraq. Almost 200 people shared in the project from chalking to providing materials and support.

    I started the project because I believe that every citizen should share the responsibility of war. I started the project out of guilt. Because the war is being fought by volunteer forces, and is being paid for on credit, the sacrifice is shouldered by only a tiny segment of the US population.

    My goal is to make the human loss visible. My goal is to foster discourse. My goal is to stop the war.
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