There I was, driving through the neighborhood on one errand or another, preoccupied with the minutae of daily life. "What are we going to have for dinner? Should I stop and pick up that thing for my mom? Can I get home before the puppy needs to go out?" Very important stuff.
Then I drove by a colorful string of names chalked on the sidewalk and remembered. It was the Iraq Names Project begun by Nancy Hiss, who last Memorial Day decided to honor the American soldiers killed in Iraq by writing their names in sidewalk chalk. She's made her way from the Federal Building downtown, across the river and all the way out to 33rd and Knott, name by name, day by day and still hasn't come to the end.
Though the rains have washed away much of her earlier work, she keeps at it as the weather permits, helped by people who are drawn in by the power of the project. From a recent blog entry:
"Nancy was drawing early one morning this week when the trash recycler stopped and asked her what she was doing. Nancy explained the project and gave him a handout. 'You just wrote my name,' he said. He told Nancy he had never met anyone with his name. Ross Clevenger was 21 years old when he died February 8, 2007. Rocco, as he was called, believed in the unbelievable. From Givens Hot Springs, Idaho, he was a fan of Big Foot and knew all about dinosaurs."
Details: The Iraq Names Project. Check the blog to keep up with Nancy's progress and get an update on her schedule.