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Archive for the 'Crosses' Category

Owner of Lafayette crosses lot passes away

Louise Clark, right, faces off with an Iraq War supporter during a 2007 rally.

Jeff Heaton, founder of the Lafayette Crosses memorial, sent word last night that Louise Clark, who owns the property on which the display sits, died Sunday morning after a yearlong battle with lymphoma cancer.

Clark died at her son Jack’s home in Santa Rosa surrounded by family and friends, Heaton said. Louise owned the property across from the Lafayette BART station with her husband, Johnson, who passed away several years ago. The couple befriended the Heaton family during a Lamorinda Democratic Club protest of the Vietnam war, Heaton said:

Louise and Johnson have been longtime activists and supporters of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek. … Louise has always been a mentor and taught me that thinking outside the box is not only acceptable but the best way to bring about a lasting peace.

The organizers of the crosses display said earlier this month they have run out of room to add more crosses are are looking into a permanent Iraq War memorial on the site.

Posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2011
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Memorial Day in Lafayette

No matter your stance on whether the Lafayette crosses are a memorial honoring soldiers or an anti-war protest display, people come together at the Lafayette crosses every year for a Memorial Day celebration. The families of local fallen soldiers come to the event each year to discuss their family members, while others come to honor all of the fallen soldiers signified by the crosses on the hill.

To watch a video from last year’s Memorial Day celebration in Lafayette, check it out at If anyone has video from today’s celebration, please post the link in the comments section.

Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011
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Veterans Day Vigil in Lafayette

On Nov. 11, starting at 5:15 p.m., there will be a Veterans Day Vigil at The Crosses of Lafayette. If you want to attend the vigil but somehow haven’t seen the crosses yet, they are located at the intersection of Deer Hill and Oak Hill Road.

The event will offer attendees the chance to grieve for those lost in war in a peaceful setting. There will also be some discussion as to how to put an end to the war in Iraq.

The event is being sponsored by Lamorinda Peace & Justice Group, Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center, The Crosses of Lafayette, and Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009
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Lafayette delays decision on sign limit

If you didn’t see reporter Katherine Tam’s story today in the Contra Costa Times about the Lafayette City Council’s decision Monday night to delay a vote on limiting the number of signs on residential property, take a read now.

The proposal wouldn’t affect the controversial crosses on a hill near BART, but would affect future such signs.

The vote was put off until May 29 after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the proposed limit as violating free speech.

Aaron Crowe

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
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Concerns about the crosses

Mike Zampa makes an argument in his upcoming May 4 column that it might be time to take down the Lafayette crosses:

“There’s nothing wrong with global exposure for little Lafayette. We’ve inserted ourselves into the world’s most troubling debate. Notoriety comes with the territory and we deserve it.

Trouble is discourse is moving away from the issue. We seem to have stopped talking about Iraq. Instead, we’re caught up in a thicket of side issues raised by opponents of the crosses to the City Council. The concerns include:

Do the crosses violate Lafayette’s sign ordinance?

Should they be made of inflammable material instead of wood?
Are weeds on the hillside a fire hazard? (Believe it or not, someone actually went out there to measure them).

This kind of bickering goes on all the time in small towns. But it usually involves neighbors complaining about the guy who won’t remove his recycling bin from the curb on garbage day.

What began as a comment about war, peace and maybe the First Amendment is now a back yard brawl. And reporters love it.”

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007
Under: Crosses, Lafayette, Lamorinda | 3 Comments »

Rally deemed a success

The Lafayette Flag Brigade, the local organizers of the rally at the Crosses of Lafayette, said they were very pleased with today’s turnout.

“I thought it was a huge success,” said Brian Welden. “We were worried that there wouldn’t be a lot of people because it was on Thursday, in the morning, on a work day, but it was a phenomenal success.”

The group is best known for displaying American flags on the El Curtola overpass above Highway 24 on the 11th of each month for the past five years, since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Brigade member Jim Minden said he asked Move America Forward to stop in Lafayette when he heard about the Sacramento-based group’s caravan from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. The Deer Hill Road hillside seemed like the right spot given the ongoing debate over the crosses.

Malaika Fraley

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2007
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Parents of slain servicemen speak out against crosses

Witnesses said the most heated discussion today’s rally involved parents of military members of slain in Iraq.
The privately-owned Lafayette hillside now has 3,188 white crosses, dozens of which feature the name of a serviceman killed at war.
Several parents of the named troops at the hillside today passionately told hillside activists that they have no right to use their child’s name without permission.
“I understand they’re emotional, and that’s why Jeff Heaton (who spearheaded the crosses) decided not to put any more names up,” said Chris Donton, a hillside volunteer from Alameda.
Donton said there are no plans to take down the names currently on display. He said the names are considered public record.
“We think there are individuals who would like to have their family members’ names up there, but no one has come forward yet,” Donton said.
Malaika Fraley

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2007
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Crosses secondary to message about troops

Not all war supporters gathered at the Crosses of Lafayette today are here to protest the crosses erected to represent members of the miltary killed in Iraq.
“I don’t really have an opinion on them, although I don’t think it’s a productive way to show support for the troops,” said Livermore resident Tami Jenkins, whose son Isaac is a sergeant in the U.S. Army.
Jenkins is a member of Blue Stars Moms, one of many pro-military organizations who came to today’s rally organized by Move America Forward, a Sacramento-based group on its way to Washington, D.C.
“I’m here today to show love for the troops,” Jenkins said. “My son chose to serve and I’m proud of him and I’m proud of all the troops for what they’ve sacrificed.”
Many at the rally focused their message on supporting the troops, but some people did express great disdain for the crosses.
“This to me is the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It’s shameless, it’s bigotry,” Danville resident Sherry Perussina said about the hillside. She also has a child in the military.
Malaika Fraley

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2007
Under: Crosses | 1 Comment »

Rally opens dialogue on war

More than 200 people have gathered at the Crosses of Lafayette today for a rally in support of U.S. military troops in Iraq.
A dirt path divides the sidewalk-side supporters with peace activists standing on a hillside filled with 3,188 white crosses that represent the members of the military killed in Iraq.
Nearly everyone has an American flag in hand.
The event has been peaceful so far, as police stand by opposing groups debating the conflict in Iraq.
Louise Clark, who owns the hillside borrowed by activists to erect the crosses, was part of one of many confrontations here today.
“We’ll never understand you, and you’ll never understand us,” a man told Clark before angrily walking off.
Clark, a longtime Lafayette resident, said she welcomes the dialogue about the war.
“I think it’s about time we had a discussion about the massacre — the massacre of our own people,” said Clark, pointing at the crosses.
“I think this what America is all about,” Clark said.
Malaika Fraley

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2007
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Military supporters to rally at Crosses of Lafayette

A caravan of military supporters is en route to Lafayette this morning to protest a hillside war memorial that’s gained national attention.
The Sacramento-based group Move America Forward is stopping at the Deer Hill Road crosses as part of its cross-county trip from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.
The group is scheduled to arrive in Lafayette at around 10 a.m.
The Crosses of Lafayette have been at the center of controversy since they were erected on a privately-owned hillside across the Lafayette BART station in November.
Supporters of the war in Iraq say the crosses representing members of the military killed in Iraq is a shameful tribute to the troops.
The Contra Costa Times will be blogging live from the event.
Malaika Fraley

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2007
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