Annual vigil commemorates Iraq War fallen

A candlelight vigil held the evening of March 26 in front of the Integrated Science Center marked the sixth anniversary of the War in Iraq.

The evening was marked by rain and wind, but that did not deter a group of over 20 students and other members of the Geneseo community, including individuals from the Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace, from gathering to remember those who have fallen during the continuing strife in Iraq.

Senior Fiona Murray initiated the ceremony after everyone had lit their candles by organizing the group into a circle and explaining the significance of the vigil. "The sixth anniversary of the United States' occupation of Iraq just passed over break but not many people talked about it," she said. "We're here to remember something that in our day-to-day lives we sometimes forget about."

After opening remarks, Murray read the first group of names from a list of United States military men and women who died in Iraq. The list was 20 pages long, double-sided, and only included deaths from the first 11 months of the war. "We probably won't read this whole thing, but it's important to see the size," she said. "Over 4,600 U.S. soldiers and almost a million Iraqi civilians have died so far."

After the list of U.S. military men and women was passed halfway around the circle, a second list was read for the remaining half. The second list named Iraqi civilians who had died recently; it was three pages and did not reach further back in time than February.

After the readings were complete, Murray thanked everyone for coming out in the rain to remember those who have died. She said she hopes for an end to the war and that no more vigils have to be organized. Participants of the vigil were also reminded to keep the Afghan conflict and the Iraqi police officers in their thoughts, as well as journalists who died or were injured while trying to cover the war.

After a few moments of silence the group extinguished their candles and disbanded with the goal to see the fulfillment of President Obama's promise to end the War in Iraq.

"This was the second time I've attended a vigil here at Geneseo," said sophomore Sara Morningstar, "and although I wish the weather had been better, it was great to see people come out and participate and remember what has happened and what is happening."