Empty combat boots represent fallen Ohioans

Among the daffodils on the hill in front of the May 4 Memorial, 161 pairs of boots were displayed Friday to represent the Ohioans who have died in the Iraq war.

Each pair of boots had a tag with the soldier’s photograph, name, rank and hometown.

The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker-based non-profit organization, brought its “Eyes Wide Open Ohio” exhibit to Kent State. The exhibit was sponsored by the May 4 Task Force as part of its annual May 4 Commemoration.

Nearby, 100 pairs of shoes memorialized Iraqi casualties. Each pair represented 1,000 deaths.

However, volunteer Jason Duffy said the actual death toll is closer to 655,000.

“It’s so hard to pinpoint how many people have actually died,” he said.

Maureen Farris, Eyes Wide Open Ohio assistant, said she thought the display related to the May 4 shootings because those students’ deaths were unnecessary, and the deaths in Iraq are also unnecessary.

Kathleen Myrman, coordinator of Eyes Wide Open Ohio, said she would like the display to be seen as a memorial rather than an anti-war statement.

She said the exhibit “shows in a real tangible way the cost of the war – both the American cost and the Iraqi cost.”

Adam Ries, freshman interior design major, said he appreciated that the display remembered all the soldiers from Ohio, because one of them went to his high school in Ohio City.

“Even if you’re not from this area,” he said, “it makes you feel more connected.”

Contact news correspondent Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].