A memorial stone dedicated to civilian victims of war was pulled on a caisson through the streets of Washington yesterday with a stop at St. Matthews Cathedral and the Capitol before being taken to the Lincoln Memorial last night.
The one-ton memorial was pulled and pushed almost 500 miles in an effort to attract attention to the cause of honoring millions of unknown civilians who have died in U.S. wars.
A core group of six began the trip July 4 in Boston, and those six have stayed with the project the entire way. They were joined en route by supporters who helped pull the 1,500-pound caisson and the 2,000-pound memorial for either a few hours or a day.
Yesterday, about 30 people helped them with the effort.
The trip was organized by members of the Peace Abbey, an interfaith center in Sherborn, Mass., that promotes world peace. Stonewalkers, as those who have brought the memorial to Washington are known, said they expect to make it a gift to Arlington National Cemetery.
However, a spokesman for the cemetery said that it could not accept the stone without the approval of Congress and that there had been no action on the issue.
Yesterday, Stonewalkers co-director Lewis Randa led the group in prayer at the cathedral steps. "We will not accept 'no' for an answer when it comes to placing this stone at Arlington Cemetery," he said.
At noon today, the stone is expected to be taken across the Arlington Memorial Bridge for a final ceremony about a mile from the cemetery gates. Randa said the group would not take the stone back to Massachusetts.