March 19, 2011 – Eleven military family members and veterans were arrested for civil trespass today in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where they staged a sit in on the 8th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq. They brought with them the photographs and boots of soldiers who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. The family members brought a block of cement with them when they sat among the hand and footprints of Hollywood legends and pressed the foot prints of an empty pair of combat boots into the cement signing the footprints ‘Forgotten Dead.’ copying what the stars do when they get their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Purple Heart veteran Ed Garza wrote “5,945 & 1.5 million Iraqis and Afghanis. The Forgotten Dead.’ The family members managed to close the area for tourists for over an hour while the police arrested them in front of crowds of tourists.
Tourists stopped and took pictures as though this were part of a Hollywood skit, but soon realized that protestors were making a strong, heartfelt statement.
“We had to do this,”’ said Pat Alviso, mother of a Marine who is currently on his fourth deployment and currently in Afghanistan. “We have done everything we can think of to let our representative and the president know that we want our troops home now. We want them to know we are serious about this and not going to stop until they are all home”
Also arrested was Laurie Loving who commented,” My son enlisted 8 years ago and I can’t believe we are still trying to bring our loved ones home. Closing down Grauman’s Chinese Theater was a minor inconvenience when compared to the horrors our families are experiencing every day.”
Dede Miller, another protester who was arrested in front of the theater added, “What we, as military families did today was important. If citizens do not step out of our comfort zones and put it all on the line as we did today, then they too will suffer the heartache we military families and veterans suffer on a daily basis”
Lisa Blank attended the protest with her daughter Alanna. “War affects families and I was happy to march today with my daughter as she participated in her first March and action. We teach our children to trust their hearts when making moral decisions and follow their conscience. That is what we are doing here today.”