IUPUI display honors America's fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan


Fallen U.S. service members are being honored along with Iraqi and Afghan civilians as part of IUPUI's Veterans Week.

The American Friends Service Committee and IUPUI are presenting a traveling exhibition called "Eyes Wide Open: The Cost of War to Indiana." The presentation consists of 203 pairs of empty combat boots representing U.S. troops from Indiana who have fallen in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

American Friends Service Committee first opened the national exhibit in Chicago with just more than 500 pairs of boots in January 2004. The national exhibit was last displayed on Memorial Day weekend in 2007 with more than 3,400 pairs.

That was the last time the exhibit was displayed nationally because it grew so large, said Erin Polley with American Friends Service Committee. Since then, it has been divided into individual state displays and taken to smaller cities and towns.

Seventeen sets of boots have been added to the Indiana exhibit since it was last displayed at IUPUI in October 2011. All the state exhibits combined now include almost 6,297 pairs of combat boots representing U.S. military casualties, along with a memorial to the Iraqi and Afghan civilian casualties.

"We've had war going on for ten years. Almost everyone knows someone who has served in the war or has died as a result of the war so we have people stop all the time and look for their family and friends and pay respects to them," Polley said.

A dedication ceremony is set will feature a color guard presentation by IUPUI ROTC and a reading of the names of the Indiana soldiers and civilian casualties.

The exhibition will be set up in the atrium of the IUPUI Campus Center at 420 University Blvd. It will be open until 10 p.m. Monday and from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Click here for more information on Veterans Week.

Click here for more information on AFSC.

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