The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Remembrance honors soldiers, civilians in Iraq

Volunteers gather at Perkins Chapel, light candles

On Monday afternoon students and faculty gathered at the stepsof Perkins Chapel to remember those who died in the war withIraq.

At 4:45 p.m., with the sound of bagpipes playing, Director ofMedieval Studies Bonnie Wheeler began the service with a simplestatement.

“We are here to remember the dead,” she said.

Wheeler then left the podium to let the student and facultyvolunteers read the names of those who died in the war.

Each volunteer read a page of names of fallen U.S. and coalitionforces while the next read a page of Iraqi civilians who died.

Over 30 volunteers of SMU faculty and students read the names ofthe deceased, which were gathered from listings on Internet sitesaccording to Dr. Will Finnin, chaplain to the university.

Dr. Finnin and Asad Rahman, president of the Muslim StudentOrganization, also took turns reading names.

The coalition forces were not identified by rank.

Many names of Iraqi civilians were read but in some cases thenames of the civilians were not available.

They could only be referred to by their familial relationship tosomeone, such as “the father of” or “the nephewsof” a surviving Iraqi citizen.

The crowd was offered white candles to hold during theevent.

A large candle was positioned at the base of the steps for thecrowd to relight their candles, but Wheeler and others routinelywalked around offering replacement candles as they burned down.Some members of the crowd lowered their heads while a few fought tohold back tears.

The event was not without some disruption.

Around 5 p.m. an unidentified student set up a Bush/Cheneycampaign sign before silently walking off.

Minutes later another student yelled profanities about Sen.Kerry at the crowd. Those episodes did not disrupt thevolunteers’ reading of the names, and a member of the crowdremoved the campaign poster within a few minutes.

At 6 p.m. Wheeler again took the podium to close theservice.

Those volunteers with lists read the remaining names aloud allat once while the bagpiper made his way up the steps of PerkinsChapel.

Wheeler also included recognition for all the names not yetreleased. Wheeler and Finnin both made clear that there werethousands of names but not enough time to read them all.

“We read as many names as we could in the timeallowed,” said Wheeler.

“It was just the tip of the iceberg,” saidFinnin.

Wheeler said the event was planned for Monday because of AllSaint’s Day, referring to its reverence for the dead.

“We think these names are hallowed,” saidWheeler.

When asked by another reporter Professor Wheeler acknowledgedsome irony that a rally for President Bush was being held acrosscampus around the same time.

The remembrance of the dead was co-sponsored by the SMU PeaceGroup, the Chaplain’s Office and the Muslim StudentOrganization.

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