Our city’s rejection of the EWO memorial, clarified

May I address City Staff Liaison Bob Stovall’s assertion in the Gazette that, contrary to what was reported, the City of Colorado Springs was willing to host the Eyes Wide Open 2,757 boot memorial? I represented the Justice and Peace Commission in asking the city for the use of Memorial Park. The Park and Recreation Department declined our request, telling us Memorial Park was unavailable because of previously scheduled football leagues. Since it was the PPJPC’s opinion that the first and only visit of the EWO traveling Iraq War memorial might merit relocating a couple days of regular football games, we approached the City Council to prevail upon the park supervisors on our behalf. This the City Council would not do.

In subsequent pronouncements Mayor Lionel Rivera tried to clarify that the city was not opposed to the memorial, only that its organizers needed to go through the proper channels like everyone else. This was bureaucratic doublespeak, like pretending to be accommodating while your subordinates keep the doors locked shut until it is too late. I found it also insulting that a national effort to highlight the sacrifices of America’s men and women in Iraq would be stonewalled and accorded no greater consideration than that given weekly football games.

EWO at Colorado CollegeNow of course it is safe for the city to claim the parks department had penciled us in. In fact we were told no and we had to proceed with our backup choice, Colorado College. Memorial Park was where I saw the traveling Vietnam Memorial and where I felt the Iraq memorial would have been most accessible and most appreciated. All along, Memorial Park was where we hoped the city would accommodate the memory of our soldiers.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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