Local News

Fluttering Tags to Honor Fallen Troops

Posted August 2, 2007 6:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2007 7:40 p.m. EDT

— A state group plans to honor the more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel who have died in the War on Terror,  hanging their names in trees lining Fayetteville Street.

More than 100 calligraphers in the Carolina Lettering Arts Society have inscribed the names and ages of all U.S. casualties onto strips of brown paper bearing the notation, "This is an American hero killed in Iraq or Afghanistan."

"It's very meaningful when you write a name," said Dara Linn, a member of the organization. "I think it definitely brings it home to people to write the names of people who lost their lives and realize how many names there are and particularly how some of these men and women are very young, just beginning their lives."

Calligrapher Don King, a Vietnam veteran, pitched the idea of displaying the paper tags in Raleigh by hanging them from trees along Fayetteville Street in time for the annual Veterans Day parade in November.

"Regardless of which side of the political fence you're on, or if you're not on the fence at all, you can identify with this," King said.

Raleigh officials want to place some restrictions on the plan, however, suggesting that the tags be hung on long threads like Christmas lights and be taken down after two weeks.

"I think it's a great way to honor them," City Councilwoman Jesse Taliaferro said. "We want to try and keep the integrity of the idea in a way that's the lowest maintenance for the city and also the least stress for the trees."

Members of the Carolina Lettering Arts Society plan to meet with City Attorney Thomas McCormick and members of the state Division of Forestry to finalize the idea.

"It will still be hanging along the main street in the capital city of North Carolina for two weeks, so that's not a bad thing," King said.