In all of our travels in and out of the City, Jeff and I often passed this gated church draped with a spectrum of ribbons. We never knew what they symbolized, but assumed it had something to do with their congregation. Last week, when I was in the city, the amount of ribbons caught my eye again. I loved how it looked alongside of the golden string of trees.
When I got home, I googled the church to find out what the ribbons really meant, and couldn’t have been more touched. The Marble Collegiate Church stands at 29th St. and Fifth Ave. in NYC–a route I often walked to Penn Station. The ribbons, it turns out, symbolize the lives lost in the Iraq war. As mind-numbing as it is to grasp the thousands of lives lost, the beauty of the ribbons and the significance of the remembrance behind it, is all so heartwarming.
On this Veteran’s Day, I thought I’d share this image to celebrate and honor the many military veterans.
On Sunday, March 19, 2006, the third anniversary of the start of war in Iraq, the congregation and friends of Marble Church hung thousands of ribbons on the iron fence that surrounds the church as a physical representation of prayers and a plea for peace.
Gold ribbons, displaying names, ranks, and ages of the thousands of American service people who have lost their lives, represent prayers for the surviving families and friends. Each Sunday morning during worship, the names of service people who have died in the war in Iraq are read aloud. At the conclusion of the service, their names are attached to ribbons and affixed to the fence with the others.
Blue ribbons represent prayers for the families and friends of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have lost their lives, and for all who have been wounded. The toll of human pain and suffering is impossible to measure.
Green ribbons represent prayers for peace in the Middle East.
Since the installation on March 19, thousands of people walking past Fifth Avenue and 29th Street have been impacted by this image and have stopped to read posted information about the ribbons and review the names that are attached.
Marble Church congregants and friends continue to pray daily for the wounded and the day that war is no longer an option.