Lafayette hillside memorial

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Coordinates: 37°53′42″N 122°07′26″W / 37.8951°N 122.1238°W / 37.8951; -122.1238

The Crosses of Lafayette is a collection of crosses, accompanied by a large sign, in Lafayette, California. The crosses are intended to serve as a memorial for soldiers killed in the Iraq War and Afghanistan War, with the sign containing a running total of the death count as recorded by the US Department of Defense. The monument began to raise controversy in November 2006.

The hillside, overlooking State Route 24 in Contra Costa County, was owned by 81-year-old Louise Clark, widow of Johnson Clark, until they both passed on. Johnson Clark was a local developer and World War II veteran. The monument was erected in late 2006 by Jeffrey Heaton, a long-time anti-war protestor, and Louise Clark. Their first 15 crosses were quickly removed by vandals. In November 2006 Heaton and Clark re-added the crosses onto Clark's property, this time with 300 crosses and a large sign that read: "In Memory of 2839 U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq".[1] By February 26, 2007 the number of crosses, mixed with Stars of David, Islamic crescents, and other religious symbols, had passed 2500.[2] Crosses have been added by volunteers and some paid for by the Lamorinda Peace Group and Grandmothers for Peace.[3] Protests of the memorial have been led by Lafayette Flag Brigade[4][5] which organizes a competing, remembrance[4] flag display on September 11 annually.[6]

The city ordinance allowed a 32-square-foot (3.0 m2) sign on the property and did not limit the number of crosses.[1] The organizers initially had an approximately 64-square-foot (5.9 m2) sign, but reduced it to 32 square feet (3.0 m2) to comply with the city ordinance. The sign is updated every week to show the new official death toll for soldiers in Iraq.[7]

As of 2014, a permanent memorial has been proposed on the site although the original intent was for the display to come down when U.S. troops came home from Iraq and Afghanistan.[8]

View of the memorial from the Lafayette BART station parking lot.

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  1. ^ Jason B. Johnson (November 20, 2006). "Iraq war memorial sets tempers ablaze". San Francisco Chronicle. p. A-1. Retrieved November 26, 2006.  The sign has been defaced twice. It was first knocked down by a Marine sergeant, enraged by perceived antiwar bias. On another occasion, the sign was painted over with black tar. Both times the sign was returned to its original condition. The memorial, with its similarity to a graveyard, was constructed after the Clark's application to develop a large assisted living facility on the property was rejected as not meeting the zoning requirements for the residential area.
  2. ^ Doug Sovern (February 26, 2007). "More Crosses Erected at Lafayette Memorial". KCBS. Retrieved February 26, 2007. 
  3. ^ Merian Kiernan (November 16, 2006). "Hillside Memorial Springs Up in Lafayette, California". The Epoch Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b Supporters of the Iraq War descend on Lafayette memorial Katherine Tam, CONTRA COSTA TIMES Oakland Tribune, March 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Emotions Run High At Lafayette War Memorial Archived July 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., March 8, 2007
  6. ^ NEVER FORGET: 911 Rally being organized by Lafayette Flag Brigade Archived January 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Move America Forward
  7. ^ Delfin Vigil (November 13, 2006). "300 crosses raised on hill near BART station". San Francisco Chronicle. p. B-2. Retrieved November 26, 2006. 
  8. ^ Kevin Fagan (May 27, 2014). "Lafayette war memorial searches for its future". SF Gate. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 

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