Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mother's Day Project

I heard about the Mother's Day Project when the founder of the project, Anne Landre, was interviewed on a CraftSanity podcast. I recommend you visit the Mother's Day Project blog to learn more about the project but to give you a brief summary, Anne is trying to draw attention to the human cost of the Iraqi war by taking volunteers to stitch the names of women who have died in the war. She is going to collect all the stitched names and make a tote out of them. Each of the stitchers will then have the opportunity to carry the completed tote around with him or her for a week before passing it on to the next stitcher.

What struck me in Anne's interview was a point she writes about on her blog. Anne writes, "The Mother’s Day Project, in making the losses of war personal, changes forever the sense of disengagement that the Bush Administration wishes us to feel. Yeah, we can spend a couple of hours shopping at the mall as this administration wishes us to do, or, we can take an hour or two to forge a personal connection with someone who died in Iraq and, in doing so, never be able to look at those war statistics in the same detached way again."

To be honest, I've been one of those people in the mall. I didn't like this and I wanted to feel more of a connection so I submitted my name to Anne as someone who would be interested in participating.

This past Tuesday my husband brought in the mail and said jokingly that I had received a letter from Anne Landers. I thought it was more junk mail but when I saw my name was hand written on the envelope I wondered why the advice columnist was writing moi. No, just kidding, but I did not remember the name Anne Landre which is what was on the return address label. I opened the letter right away. In it I found this piece of muslin and then I remembered.

My initial reaction was she sounded young. Holly is a young name. I then put the muslin back in the envelope until this evening when I started my research to find out more about Holly.

I Googled Holly's name. What struck me first about her was her smile. It was beautiful. I also learned that Holly was a cheerleader and liked to help people. According to a Boston Globe article on Holly, she decided to join the Marines shortly after 9/11 . She obviously cared not only for her friends and family but for our country and she wanted to do her part to help. So honorable.

It is also written that "[s]he took long runs to harden her physique" prior to signing up for the Marines. I felt a connection with her in running.

In that same Boston Globe article I learned that when Holly was in Iraq, her job was to deliver mail to soldiers. Mail is important to soldiers and the impression I get from the articles I read is that it must have been even more exciting to receive the mail when it was delivered by her because she had a genuine joy from doing her job. She enjoyed delivering mail so much that she wanted to continue to deliver mail when she returned home from the war.

According to the Department of Defense, Holly was killed on June 23, 2005, when a suicide bomber drove his bomb-filled truck into hers. According to a MilitaryTimes article, Holly was the first female Marine killed in Iraq. She was 21. There is now a post office named after her.

Anne Landre woke me up. Because of this project, I now feel connected to Holly. I am sad about the loss her family has experienced.

Anne has asked me to return the stitched name to her within 2 weeks so I'd like to get it mailed out by the 26th.

Female casualties confirmed by the U.S. Department of Defense

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