Early in the day, before the heat begins to smother, I walk the Walk of the Fallen Labyrinth with a slip of paper full of names and a goblet of water in my hands. I sing as I go. Like most walks, whether in the early morning hours or evening, there is little sound aside from my voice and the soft crunch of vegetation underfoot where violets are growing over the stones. And standing at the central stone, reciting the names of those most recently killed in Afghanistan, it suddenly occurred to me that this November will be the 10th anniversary of my opening of this war memorial.
I walked back off those sandstone and mica-flected field stone pavers somewhat more swiftly than I walked inward. I feel I should do something to note a decade of walks and songs for the dead, but my imagination somewhat fails me. In the early years, as on the opening night in the photograph to the right, I used to light the labyrinth with luminarias or electric lights....one for each dead troop, US or Coalition. But there almost EIGHT THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED now, and I can't light that many lights...the luminarias in that photo are just over 400, not even 5% of the total now. And that number surely does not include the suicides of veterans that I cannot trace. I cannot even affort to post little paper flags; and then, the difficulty of finding flags appropriate for each nation's losses would be problematical even if I was flush with cash.
So, here is the thing. Empty booze bottles are called "dead soldiers", are they not? Of course, even on that Labyrinth that fills one side of my back yard, I could not make 8200 big bottles fit...nor even beer bottles. But, the tiny aircraft size? I think I could do that, so here is my appeal and I ask that you pass the word EVERYwhere: PLEASE DRINK A COUPLE OR SIX OF THOSE SMALL BOTTLES OF THE TIPPLE OF YOUR CHOICE TO THE FALLEN AND MAIL THE EMPTIES TO ME. On the anniversary, November 8th, I will display and photograph the bottles on the Walk and afterwards recycle all the bottles. And also, since it is the 10th Anniversary, I will read all the names aloud.(I last read the complete list in the fall of 2009.)
And yes, I know I am opening myself to likely a host of crazy. But the need to make REAL and visible what these wars have cost in human lives makes my knees shake. Send the empty bottles (please small only) to:
Walk of the Fallen Labyrinth
c/o C. L. Moore
P.O. Box 4386
Spanaway, WA 98387