Approximately 60 people, some of them grouped in families, gathered for a candlelight vigil last Thursday evening at La Cañada's Memorial Park. All came to mourn the 1,000 American troops dead in Iraq, which was announced by the media two days earlier, on Sept. 7.
The vigil was led by Conchita Marusich, who organized the grassroots gathering with Ellen Young. "I was watching a collage on TV of these people who are just?gone," Marusich said. "There were just too many young faces. It was horrible. I called Ellen and told her, 'We've got to do something.'"
Together, the women made phone calls and sent e-mails. Young created a banner that was draped along the park's gazebo outer wall stating, "In Memory of the 1,000 Dead Troops Killed in Iraq." The banner also featured a graph representing U.S. casualties, as well as press clippings describing the grim milestone.