The Crosses of Lafayette is a place where thousands of crosses and flags for soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan overhang a hillside in California.
The monument has broad value, without a political or religious affiliation. The site has grown into a genuine place of healing since its establishment in 2006, where families of Gold and Blue Star pay tribute to their loved ones, and veterans pay homage to fallen comrades. Travelers on BART and nearby highways are pausing briefly to take notice of the impressive construction and are inspired, if only for a moment, to remember the horrific cost of war.
COMMUTERS AT THE LAFAYETTE BART station or traveling down Highway 24 in the Bay Area of San Francisco can see a slope around the station lined in crosses, David triangles, Buddhist wheels and Islamic crescents. Thousands of them carpet the hillside in a sea of eerie gold, each remembering an American soldier killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Area construction contractor and peace activist Jeff Heaton conceptualized this eye-catching monument during the early days of the Iraq war beginning in 2003. He planted 19 crosses on a section of his friend's hillside but they were quickly destroyed by vandals. His second effort came in 2006, when the war took thousands of lives, and this time he was assisted by a number of peace groups and 300 crosses were planted on the same hillside.
This memorial has expanded to include soldiers who have fallen through current wars in the US, including Afghanistan. The scheme was met with vandalism and demonstrations from some who felt it was insensitive, but it still persists, with fatalities throughout the thousands now. While the number of crosses has been stopped at 5,000, the current death count indicates a sign at the top of the hill which has risen much higher. The memorial's existence is unclear but the blanketed hillside has given Lafayette the nickname of "the community with the crosses" for now.
It's a holy spot of remembrance and memory; a gesture against oblivion. It is a forum for remembering, celebrating, and commemorating human contributions to public service. The memorial is also a site that promotes human and public reflection on such sacrifices, as well as the otherwise unforeseen, overlooked, and unexamined costs of war.
This amazing landmark in Lafayette, California is located near some other must-see places:
- Lafayette Park Theater
- The Lafayette Library and Learning Center
- Oakmont Memorial Park
- Lafayette Reservoir
- Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa
- Lafayette Veterans Memorial Center
- Lafayette City Office
- Lafayette Community Center
All of these wonderful locations are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek California! Stop by for a visit anytime!