One thousand white crosses

Katie Greenwald

Arlington Cemetery visits Kent State

Student George Tayek and student Meredith Compton affixes a flower and a note to one of the 1,000 crosses in the field adjacent to Centennial Court B. The crosses were arranged to look like the tombstones of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Credit: Andrew popik

It’s something anyone would expect to see at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

But these 1,000 crosses line the field adjacent to Centennial Court B on Midway Drive

The Arlington West On the Road display is a traveling mock cemetery that symbolizes the 1,587 American men and women who have died to date in the war in Iraq, said David Troy, a veteran of the Vietnam War and member of Veterans for Peace, the group that organizes Arlington West.

But the crosses aren’t all white as they are in the Arlington National Cemetery. Red crosses line the second row, and every red cross symbolizes 10 Americans killed in the war, Troy said.

Kent State is sixth on the tour of nine universities that Veterans for Peace is visiting with its display.

Ten universities were scheduled, but Emory University in Atlanta would not allow the memorial.

Other than that, Troy said, response has been favorable.

The group chose May 3 and 4 to set up the crosses at Kent State to correlate with the annual campus commemoration of May 4, 1970, when four students were killed by the National Guard during a protest against the Vietnam War.

Accompanying the crosses are names and photos of the first 1,000 Americans who died in the war in Iraq.

“There he is. I found him,” said Shanelle Smith, sophomore political science major, when she found the photo of her friend’s dad who died last July. “That’s crazy.”

Troy said he is doing what he can to speak for the soldiers.

“I know too much to know this (war) is being done for a good reason,” he said.

He also said soldiers who have died would have wanted him shouting what he believes to be the truth about the war — if they knew what he knows.

But he wouldn’t go into detail about his perceptions because he said he is afraid the government will take action against him through the USA Patriot Act.

Troy speaks on behalf of Veterans for Peace, which is dedicated to the abolishment of war, according to its Web site,

But the memorial isn’t only set up for those who oppose the war. It is for those who support the troops.

Kim Slowbe wouldn’t say if she supports or opposes the war but was quick to say she supports the people fighting in it.

“They give me every right to stand here today,” she said.

Slowbe works for the United Service Organization, which has sent more than 17,000 care packages to troops since the war began.

And she said she won’t stop sending the packages until the war is over.

Shirts commemorating the Arlington West display are available for a donation, and a scrapbook with mementos of those who have died is displayed.

A guest book is available, too.

One person signed, “To my uncle — we miss you.”

Contact finance reporter Katie Greenwald at [email protected].