War Memorial In A Chicago Shop Window

A shopkeeper in Chicago has created a memorial to soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not everybody who passes by understands why he's decorated his shop window with distressing images.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Now a story about the war in Iraq, as seen from a barber shop in Chicago. For the past year, Rex Mitchell has kept a list in the window of the Gold Crown barber shop of soldiers killed in the war.

(Soundbite of an electric razor)

Mr. REX MITCHELL (Barber, Gold Crown Barber Shop): This is not a political statement. It's not an anti-war statement at all. This is just a nice, little barber shop, with some information. I first started putting my list up in April 10th of '07, and my first posting was 3,290.

(Soundbite of an electric razor)

To me, it seems like in America we get so complacent. You know, we have such busy lives, and we forget that there are people that are like sleeping in sand dunes, basically. You know, fighting, shooting, dodging bullets. So you can go for a beer, so you can get your oil changed.

So I put the pictures on my window of the faces of the men and women that have died, so people could realize that it's not just numbers that change every day in the newspaper. One guy came in not to get a haircut. And he just stands in the doorway, and he says, why do you have that crap on your window? And I said, what do you mean crap?

He said, all about all those deaths. I said, does that bother you? He just says, well, don't you realize you're bringing down the morale in the neighborhood? And I said, that's interesting you put it that way. I said, thank you, anyways. Have a nice day. And he left. Sometimes I get very emotional when I take down the photos to put up new photos. And I always do it when there's nobody in my shop, because sometimes I do get emotional, but it needs to be said.

CHADWICK: A report from Chicago, produced by the Chicago Tribune's Christopher Booker, and coming to us from the new NPR series, Hearing Voices. We've got more to come on Day to Day.

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