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Vigil for the Fallen

Group reflects on four years of Iraq War.

Members of the Oakton-based Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax held a candlelight vigil on Monday night to honor the lives lost in the Iraq War. Monday marked the fourth anniversary of the U.S. led invasion.

“We stand tonight with friends and family in opposition to this war,” said Kristin Moyer, the Lay Minister for Stewardship. Moyer said those who oppose the war should write to their elected officials. “Get the word to your congressmen of the human cost of war,” she said.

Esther Pank, the Co-Lay Minister for Social Justice, said the Iraq War is one of the major events of her lifetime. She said the human cost of the war is often misunderstood. “We get the casualty numbers, but they are just numbers,” she said. Destruction of families is often not considered in those numbers. Pank believes U.S. troops should withdraw immediately since there can be no winners in a war with so many casualties and so much destruction. “The talk of victory makes no sense to us,” she said.

In a letter dated March 9, 2007, the Rev. William Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, submitted to members of the U.S. Congress a "Moral Balance Sheet" of the Iraq War. The balance sheet compares human and financial costs of occupying Iraq to domestic services that could have been served with those resources.

“To date, more than 3,100 American military members have been killed in Iraq, and another 400 have been killed in Afghanistan,” reads the letter. “On average, another college-aged soldier – between the ages of 18 and 22 – is killed every day.”

The balance sheet also states that on average the U.S. spends $259 million per day in Iraq. The money, reads the sheet, “could have provided 22,615 college-aged students with a full year’s tuition or enrolled 35,500 three and four-year-olds a full year in Head Start pre-school programs.”