Prayers for Peace

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 | All Things

At Marble Collegiate Church for a “State of Our Union” dialogue hosted by Generation Engage and Demos. The evening was a special event, consisting of a 75-minute discussion with New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winnning columnist William Safire and former Kennedy speechwriter Theodore Sorensen, followed by a live screening of the president’s annual State of the Union address. I was heartened to see the church’s wooden pews filled to capacity by a number of young adults, mixed in with the usual assortment of old-line activists and policy wonks.

Interesting choice of venue. Since last March 19, the third anniversary of the start of war in Iraq, the congregation has hung thousands of gold, blue and green streamers on the iron fence around the perimeter of the mid-19th century church at Fifth Avenue and 29th Street, as a physical representation of prayers and a plea for peace.

The installation is titled Prayers for Peace. The gold ribbons display the names, ranks and ages of members of the armed forces who have lost their lives in Iraq, and represent prayers for their families. The blue are prayers for Iraqi dead and wounded with their names and ages (some just a few months old), and the green ribbons represent prayers for peace in the Middle East. During each Sunday service, the names of new servicepeople who have died are read aloud, and their ribbons are added to to the gates with the others. The number of gold ribbons, around 2300 when the project first began last year, now total over 3000.

Prayers for Peace

Prayers for Peace

On Sunday, March 18, 2007, the Church will hold a memorial to coincide with the war’s fourth anniversary. That afternoon, the names of the dead will scroll across the same big screen Bush appeared on that night.

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