Wednesday, March 21, 2007

FACING WAR at Brooklyn Friends School

For three days in February, the Honor the Fallen memorial took up residence in the high school of Brooklyn Friends School, a Quaker school in downtown Brooklyn. We had met Leah, a BFS senior, when she volunteered to help us set up the panels at the Brooklyn Peace Fair in the fall.(See our archives, October 26, 2006.) She contacted us later to ask if we would consider bringing the memorial to her school. We were delighted and one Sunday morning drove the panels from Southold to Brooklyn, handed them over to students from the Peace and Social Justice group who installed them and managed the impressive three-day, Monday to Wednesday, event.

The sheer number of panels required that every spare inch of wall space on two floors of the upper school were covered. This made it a very powerful experience, overwhelmingly so for some. You could not turn away, it was everywhere.

Each high school class dedicated a Quaker meeting period to reflect on the ways in which the panels had affected them. Their reactions were wide-ranging, thoughtful and often surprising.

We left a "Reflections" notebook so that students and teachers could express their thoughts and feelings about their experiences over the past three days.

We bring you some of their handwritten pages.

We have tried to distill what we learned from this rich and provocative experience. Although we have displayed the memorial in many, many locations over the past two years, this is the first time we have left it in place for three days. It is also the first time we have worked with a small, close community and had the opportunity to interview its members to understand what the impact of this 'in your face' and personal proximity to the ramifications of war might be.

In a wonderful working collaboration, Gene Taylor and Abe Krikorian of Conscience Films and NFPOC produced a 43-minute video documentary titled FACING WAR which we will be happy to share with anyone who is interested in seeing it: perhaps you or somebody you know would like to talk about bringing Honor the Fallen to your school, college, religious or other institution. If you'd like a copy, please email us at

Another perspective of the three-day event can be found at the school's web site


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