For the past three years a group of people of Santa Monica, California have planted small white crosses on the beach. They get up at sunrise every Sunday, plant hundreds of crosses in the sand, and then at sunset they gather them all up and take them home. Each cross represents an American killed in the Iraq war. I find this an extraordinary show of personal feeling. To repeat this process each Sunday, knowing that every week they’ll have to plant more crosses takes a certain amount of dedication. I have enormous admiration for people like that – people who feel so passionately about something that talking about it simply isn’t enough. Whether it’s people planting crosses, or surfers wearing gas masks, or single Dads dressed up as superheroes they do it because they believe they can change the way people think. They want to make a difference.
As I write this (7 June 2009) there are 4,315 crosses being planted in Santa Monica’s beach. As the number of crosses grows, so does my quiet support for the people who plant them. I’m not a particularly political person. I have my views on global warming, GM foods, Iraq etc. but rather than ruin a good party I’ll tend to keep them to myself. Perhaps by writing this however, I have in some small way made people pause and think for a bit, without ruining any parties.