Fact Check

Coffin Protest

Photograph shows flag-draped coffins arrayed around the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C.?

Published Nov 4, 2005

Claim:   Photograph shows flag-draped coffins arrayed around the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C.

Status:   Multiple — see below.

Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, 2005]

This is circulating through our school district and I cannot find its origin. Is this an actual photo of an actual event in
Washington, DC? The person who is linking this photo to school websites is notorious for doctoring images for political purposes.

Click photo to enlarge

Origins:   The above-displayed image is another entry difficult to classify as either "real" or "not real." It's real in the sense that it's an unmanipulated photograph, but it's also not real in the sense that the scene depicted was staged with props.

This photograph dates from 23 October 2004 and shows a symbolic protest against the war in Iraq mounted in Washington, D.C., by the 75-member Iraq War Memorial Coalition. As the Associated Press reported about one of the event's organizers:

Pat Elder, who helped organize the event, said the 75-member coalition was formed two weeks ago by people who belonged to the Quaker faith, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out.

"We just wanted to get across the idea that there's a human cost to this war," said Elder, 49, who owns a real estate title company in Bethesda, Md. "We're not the radical ones. We are moderates, We're not all antiwar, we're just against this war."

An anonymous donor from Texas contributed $20,000 to the group, which they used to buy cardboard prop coffins and flags. Volunteers spent six hours assembling 1,100 flag-draped cardboard coffins (representing the 1,100 members of the U.S. military who had died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003) and on the morning of 23 October 2004 arrayed them starting at the base of the Lincoln Memorial and extending around both sides of the Reflecting Pool (stretching halfway down the pool towards the Washington Monument). At 1:00 that afternoon, members of the Iraq War Memorial Coalition read aloud the names of the 1,100 people who were killed and played taps in their honor.

Last updated:   3 November 2005


  Sources Sources:

    Associated Press.   "Protesters Pay Tribute to Fallen Troops."

    24 October 2004.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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