War dead, marked by crosses


Every Sunday since February 2004, volunteers place red and white crosses (and stars of David and crescents) on the sand to remember the fallen and wounded soldiers from the United States’ wars, and to acknowledge the human cost of war. The local chapter of Veterans for Peace sponsors the project; there is a separate section with purple crosses of military members who have died by suicide.

It is a stunning, sobering sight.

I spoke with the gentleman who was in charge (he was wearing a red ball cap that said IMMIGRANTS MAKE AMERICA GREAT); he told me his organization was starting a new project aimed at combating the recent rise of Islamaphobia.

If you want to learn more about the crosses project, there are interesting articles here and here.

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, California
photographed 2.19.2017

Posted on February 25, 2017, in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Wonderful.
    Always loving history I still want to kick myself for being so stupid. Uncle Sam paid my way to Germany. Not once did it dawn on me to visit the military cemeteries.


  2. What an extraordinary effort every Sunday! Very sobering. Great photo, Melinda.


    • The only thing I regret about going there is that I was so busy making photos that I didn’t give myself the time to really experience all those crosses and reflect on the meaning of it all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand what you mean, Melinda. I had a similar revelation about obsessing over getting the right photo while on a trip to New Zealand. I had the photos developed on my return home and couldn’t remember many locations from the photos as I hadn’t really looked at the scene outside of the view finder.


      • It’s an occupational hazard, I guess. I need to be more aware about missing the emotional connections with people and places, though, so this has been a good reminder for me.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. A very poignant reminder of those who do their duty & a sober reminder for the politicians who send them to do it.


  4. I very much like how you handled this scene, and what you have to say about it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. It was hard to write about it – as I told Kate, I was too involved in making images (the pressure of class, you know!) that I failed to stop and really absorb it all.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It is an interesting phenomenon and had I known more about it (the promoting peace part, and the absence of the glory of war part) I might have gone down and had a closer look myself. But, as a foreigner in the USA, I shy away from the intense patriotism and flag waving and thought that was what was going on here. Of course I should have found out more.


      • But, if you’d gone to look at this, you might have missed that great under-the-pier shot with the bird. So you made the right decision.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that is possible. I could have walked all the way under the pier and come out here, but once I had that shot with bird I felt like mission-accomplished and headed up to see if it was time to go home. I guess I should post that shot soon, eh?


      • Yes, don’t forget to post it! And when you do, I hope you’ll remember the reaction it got in our class!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I just checked back through my archives and I was there 2007. I agree, it is a stunning, sobering sight.


  6. Catching up and followed a link from Ehpem’s blog. A very poignant sight and it’s a pity that more places don’t follow this example. I reemember Santa Monica and the pier from our visit to California in 1992. Our daughter got sunburnt++


  7. Also here via ephem…I’m glad they’re doing this…interesting to add the six-pointed stars and crescents. I’m sure there were many other non-Christians too, but still, a nice addition. All you can do is just keep putting it out there – was is a waste.


    • Thanks for coming over from Ehpem’s blog! Since we were there last month, I’ve thought a lot about the commitment of those volunteers, and how it must feel for there never to be an end in sight. It’s sobering. Depressing. Maddening.


  1. Pingback: Beach Crosses | One Day | One Image

  2. Pingback: Beside Santa Monica Pier | burnt embers

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