They write: "More than 2,995 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. By the time you read this, the death toll may have reached 3,000. We must bear witness to this tragic milestone, even though many people are already beginning their celebrations of the new year. And when we do take action on this occasion, we must remind others that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, women and men have also died in this outrageous war and occupation. Our call to end this war and to bring all the troops home now must be heard in every corner of the country."
Others in the country will be marking the 3,000 death with various ceremonies: in Kansas, protestors will light candles and lay out more than 80 pairs of empty combat boots. In Chicago, anti-war activists will hand out black ribbons, each bearing the name of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq. And in New Haven, Connecticut, opponents of the war plan to read aloud the names of 3,000 dead U.S. soldiers.
In all, organizers say some 140 demonstrations in 37 states are planned to mark the 3,000th U.S. military death in Iraq, a milestone that is likely only days away. By Thursday, some 2,989 U.S. troops had died in Iraq since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the unrelenting violence.
So far, the discontent has not translated into large anti-war demonstrations, with events over the last year attracting sometimes only a handful of activists, up to sometimes a few hundred, at each place. Turnout could be similarly low-key this time.
Along with commemorating U.S. soldiers, many events will also mourn dead Iraqi citizens.