“The Lafayette White Cross Protest Memorial” is a pictorial edition of Northern California’s most striking and poignant monument established for soldiers who have died in the Iraqi, Afghanistan and overseas battlefield conflicts. Established in November 2006 as a protest against American involvement in Iraq, the Memorial has become an important symbol of remembrance with over 4000 rustic white crosses implanted on a hillside in suburban Lafayette.
The inclined property overlooks one of Contra Costa County’s freeway arteries and the Lafayette BART transit station. Photographer Marques Vickers 120 images capture the intimacy and personalization of the panorama, which began as a spontaneous and controversial movement. His images start in mid-2014 and extend beyond a two-year cycle. The hillside has freshened green once again following the ravages of the California drought. During this period the casualty tally has increased from 6809 to an excess of 7,000.
In one of two accompanying essays titled “Conflict and Remembrance” Vickers observes that the changes in warfare have currently shifted conventional battlefield deaths to urban terrorist actions targeting civilians.
The Crosses of Lafayette are probably the largest American memorial of its kind in post 9/11 and likely the most personal. Traditional white crosses are accompanied by some bearing the Star of David, Islamic crescents, Buddhist prayer wheels and other religious symbolism. Several feature attached photographs, writings and other personal mementos.