Originally published here...
The memorial to the soldiers who've lost their lives in Iraq is located in the Epimetheus simulator, next door to a disco and across the street from something called SL*Mart, a knockoff of a Walmart superstore, except that this one is permanently on fire. In the afternoon of Sunday, May 2nd, the memorial was officially opened by Ace Cassidy, its creator.
"I know that there are a lot of people with very strong pro-war or anti-war views," Cassidy tells the audience of twenty or so residents, "I have those myself. But this is NOT a place for airing those issues. It is solely for the memory of those who are no longer with us." Behind him, the names of individual soldiers are displayed across the memorial's marble plaque. Cassidy compiled this list of the honored dead from a website that keeps track of all coalition fatalities, and he's now gathering up .jpegs of their faces, so that those can be displayed at the memorial, too. As the memorial's informational notecard reads, “Mothers have lost sons, wives their husbands, children their parents, men their girlfriends. Each of the names that appear on the sign here represents a real person who is no longer with us."
The card also warns that “[t]his site is NOT a place for political discussions, where people share their pro-war, anti-war, pro-Bush, anti-Bush feelings. There are plenty of other locations in Second Life for that. Here, it is only the memory of these men and women that is important."
But within minutes of the ceremony, that caveat is quickly cast aside.
"I think it is also important," Cassidy is saying, in his opening statement, "that we honor the memory of the Iraqi men, women, and children who have suffered because of this war..."
"Heavy, can you please put the gun away," Fuego Falcone tells Heavy Wheeling, another member of the dedication audience, "I find [it] disrespectful."
"I support soldiers," Wheeling answers, "and the bravery it takes to fight a war, but let’s all be truthful. We’re wasting young people’s lives over money."