Thursday, March 29, 2007

Over 250 viewed Eyes Wide Open exhibit in La Crosse

[From June]

The venue was a good place to have the exhibit. As you entered the room, you saw the large AFSC banner hanging above the tab;es where we had placed the boots in the center of the room. The sandwich boards were placed around the room, and one in the hallway outside Port O'Call where we had the display. The pile of shoes and boots for the Iraqis were on the floor to one side, under the large EWO banner. The map with the poppies was near the boots with a podium where we put the large book with names and addresses of the Wisconsin dead so people could look them up and find the place on the map.

At the entrance we had the other things - biographies, comment book, cost of the war handouts, etc. Most of the visitors were connected with the University. Professors sent or brought groups of students and one of our volunteers was a lively, assertive greeter who encouraged many to stop by who probably would not have done so. Read more below!

One of our volunteers, Duane Teschler, is a Veteran for Peace. He was there all day and offered to read the names. He had a good loud voice, and red them slowly with dignity and feeling I am not sure exactly how many times they were read, probably 10 or so.

People were reverent, many visibly moved, some asked questions, others expressed their opposition to this war and sadness at the suffering that has and is happening. A few shared that they had someone special who was serving overseas.

All three TV stations came to the exhibit. Duane spoke to them, and the Tribune reporter got comments from some of the visitors. I only saw a glimpse of one of the TV programs, it showed Duane and a close up of the boots... The local WPR station, WLSU, had announcements of the event on their calender and interviewed some of the volunteers. I did not hear that either. We had contacted all of these media folks before the event.

The volunteers kept an accurate count of the visitors who came. It ws 270.

THANK YOU to local volunteers: Anita Beskar, FSPA (the FSPA donated the pickup to bring the exhibit to La Crosse), Duane Teschler, Bob Schneyer, Peg Umhoefer, Lois Durall, Mickey Collins, Kent Johnson, Barb Hammes, Dan Poler, Cathy Van Maren, Grace Nichelson-Maly, Madeline Kepner, Eileen Young, Jeremy Jansen and three other UW-L students, and Lori White and her family and Bonnie Pickett who took the display back to Madison for us (gratis). Also, thanks to Guy Wolf, Matt Stewart and the staff of Multicultural Student Services Office at UW-L for getting the venue, and assistance with set up and equipment.

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