Memorial in Riverfront Park shows true cost of war

If you drove through Riverfront Park Thursday, something may have caught your eye.

A striking display popped up in the Lilac Bowl illustrating the true cost of war. Veterans for Peace volunteers spent hours placing roughly 1,500 headstones around the park to honor some of the U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“People can read a number in the paper about causalities or even see a name in the paper,” said David Dittemore, President of the Tacoma Veterans for Peace chapter. The non-profit advocates for veteran’s rights and wants governments to solve dispute without war and violence. The memorial brings a new perspective to the names and numbers.

The markers only represent about a quarter of all soldiers killed in both wars.

“This is a big enough project for us right now,” Dittemore said. “It was created by a couple of peace groups in Seattle, and they maintained it for several years.

The 1,500 names were picked randomly, although the group is trying to include every casualty from Washington state. Those markers have a ribbon on them.

The display will welcome other members for this weekend’s national convention of Veterans for Peace.

Setting up the display took time and money. The group had to pay approximately $2,000 for a three day permit. The memorial will stay up until Sunday at 3 p.m. Members of Veterans for Peace will be at the park to answer questions, they are also accepting donations.