When I got there the ceremony had already started. Karen explained that we were gathered to remember the people who had died in Iraq during the current conflict. Then she began reading the names of all of the Californian soldiers who had fallen.


Behind her were lights representing each of the American fallen, and also a candle representing each of the California fallen. At first there were lots of microphones pointed at her, but as the list of names went on and on the broadcast reporters moved on to other things. At one point Karen read "my son Ken Ballard", and then continued to the next name. After she had read a page or two, she switched to holding the light for a guy who had lost his son in Faludja. He said a few words, thanking MVVP, LAVP, SVP, and a few other organizations for hosting this event and then started reading names.


The reading continued for a while. After they ran out of  local people that had lost a son or nephew a few friends of those familys took turns. I remember listening to lots of names. Everybody stood quietly and respectfully while they read more names.


After they had read the name of every California Soldier who had died, Karen said she wanted to do something to illustrate how this fit into the whole. Behind here were 3,000 Christmas lights glowing, with California's share being the ones wrapped around the flag pole. She gave the signal, and those went out. There was still a large number of lights let on the ground behind her. It felt like a slice had been taken out of a pie, to give you an idea of the percentage.

After the ceremony I wandered around taking pictures for a while.


Our 3,000 dead are bad, but their 600,000 dead must feel like a huge tragedy.


Wendy is very proud because election day she did GOTV phone calls for MoveOn.org and managed to be one of the top five callers in the nation. She has a screen shot of the high score table to prove it!