With less than 2 months left ahead of our scheduled departure date for Southwest Asia, and with our fan base growing steadily there are quite a few newcomers to this project and we want to reiterate what we are doing and why.
A few weeks ago, someone posted a link on the Project's Facebook page. Following this link, it took me to a webpage for the North Carolina Chapter 7 of Rolling Thunder. For those not familiar with Rolling Thunder, they are a nationwide non-profit (501(c)(4)) organization dedicated to the POW/MIA cause and are famous for their annual motorcycle rides in Washington, DC on Memorial Day. For more information on Rolling Thunder visit www.rollingthunder1.com.
The North Carolina Chapter has dedicated itself to saving a memorial conceptualized and created by our warfighters stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq. This memorial is 280 feet long totalling 22 force protection barriers bearing all 4,336 names of those courageous men and women that have given their lives in support of the Iraq conflict. This memorial is quite possibly the first ever for a conflict created by those who fought in the war it memorializes and that alone should warrant it worth saving. I have included photos taken of the wall in this blog posting for our fans and supporters to view. Randy Grosskopf and Cindy Williams have taken this cause to save this enormous memorial upon themselves and have been working tirelessly to network with individuals and organizations to ensure the success in bring this wall, piece by piece, back to the United States.
Their campaign to save this wall truly speaks to the importance of this art that is all over Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of the upcoming withdraw of US forces in 2012, this memorial in Kirkuk and hundreds, even thousands of other memorials, incredible and insightful works of war will be forever lost. This art, which is our generation's historical mark, must be preserved and it is our mission to ensure that we capture as much of it as we possibly can.
1) Write you Representative. Go to www.writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml and follow the instructions to determine who your representative is and how to contact him or her.
2) Alert others to the campaign to save the Kirkuk memorial and to our summer expedition to Kuwait & Iraq. The more buzz that is created about the Kirkuk campaign and The Graffiti of War Project the higher the likelihood of success. Contact your friends, family, co-workers, and city officials.
3) Contact the media (local & national). Write your local newspaper and news channel. You can find their contact information online or you can visit http://www.cnn.com/feedback/tips/index.html and contact CNN. As I said before, the more buzz we create the greater the success of this project and the Kirkuk memorial.
4) Pass out flyers, brochures and posters. We have listed our brochures, posters and flyers on this website for you to print out and pass around. If you would rather not print them but still would like to pass them out, let us know. We would be happy to send you any number of brochures, posters and flyers (within reason).
5) For those of you who have family in Kuwait, Iraq or Afghanistan, let them know about the project. Have them contact us or take photos and submit them either through the website or Facebook page. We assure each of you that we do NOT share email addresses or any other contact information given to us by our warfighters and their families. We all adhere to OPSEC so rest assured.
6) Have an idea that we haven't thought of? Fantastic! We are always looking for ideas and support. We have plenty to do on this project and can always find something that you can do. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas and thoughts and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.
This art and these memorials offer not just a glimpse inside those who fought these conflicts, they are truly memorials to the fallen, created by those who fought with them, those who bled with them, and sometimes, created by those who have died. We MUST document these images, save what we can and join the fight in the campaign to Save the Kirkuk Memorial.
Some company out there, that profited from the almost 10 years of conflict in Iraq can certainly pay a few hundred thousand dollars to pack up this memorial and ship it home to the States. We need your help in finding a corporation or an organization that is willing to help. Sometimes all it takes is a letter or an email or a meeting to inspire those with the means to offer their help. Please, just take a moment of your time and write that letter or email, contact your local newspaper or news station. Send some emails to CNN and have them cover a story on our project and saving this Kirkuk Memorial.
With your help, we WILL succeed!
Jaeson "Doc" Parsons