Strolling along 29th Street in Manhattan the other day, I came across a very moving project. It is the work of Marble Collegiate Church, best known for once hosting the sermons of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.
In 2006, the church decided to start praying for all the American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every soldier's name and age are typed onto a piece of paper, and slipped into a plastic sleeve. The name tag is then tied to a long golden ribbon which hangs on the wrought iron gate outside the church.
The church also prays for the thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan who have perished. Those ribbons are blue.
Finally, green ribbons denote prayers for peace.
The railings are crowded with ribbons. Seeing the names of the soldiers -- most of the whom were in their 20s and 30s -- really brings home the painful loss of life connected to the wars. The project is reminiscent of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., which names more than 58,000 soldiers who either died or went missing in Vietnam. The names are engraved on the memorial's black granite wall.
The church has worked hard on the prayer project and they are to be commended for raising our awareness. The ribbons force you to think hard about war and the terrible loss of life that goes with it.