The Eyes Wide Open exhibit, created by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), is a living memorial to the military personnel and civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan-- and a stark reminder of the human cost of war. Eyes Wide Open: The Human Cost of War first opened in Chicago's Federal Plaza with just over 500 pairs of boots in January 2004. Since its last display on Memorial Day weekend 2007 with over 3,400 pairs of boots the exhibition has been divided into state displays to travel to smaller cities and towns.
Waking from a dream as she slept comfortably in a remote Kurdish village in Northeastern Iran, Karla Hansen stared wide-eyed at the ceiling. Across the border in Afghanistan, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), controlled by American pilots sitting in front of video screens inside the U.S. were dropping bombs on the poorest of Afghanistan’s poor. Hundreds of children, beautiful children, like those who welcomed her every day during her visit to Iran, had already perished.
Read and comment on Mary Zerkel’s op-ed in the Huffington Post on the $1 trillion that U.S. taxpayers have spent on the wars in Iraq and Afganistan by May 30 and also what we could have spent that money on instead.
Eyes Wide Open, the American Friends Service Committee's widely-accalimed exhibition on the human cost of the Iraq War, features a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty and a field of shoes to memoralize the Iraqis killed in the conflict. Eyes Wide Open has toured to over 100 cities across the U.S. and has been visited by hundreds of thousands of people.
This touring exhibit includes 45 unique 4-foot by 6-foot panels created by artists memorializing Afghan civilian casualties, alongside images about living with war collected from Afghan schoolchildren. The exhibit opens in Philadelphia on October 7, the ninth anniversary of the war, and will include public programs each week.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.