After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, the war is largely forgotten by most Americans. But for those directly affected by war—veterans and civilians who survived the conflict, family and friends who lost loved ones, and cultural critics who question the culture of violence—the cost makes it too great to forget.

Last month in Kansas City, Mo., the American Friends Service Committee and other area organizations held a memorial event including the display of an art installation, “Unfinished Portrait,” an Iraq and Afghan war memorial by Priti Gulati Cox, a Salina, Kan., artist.

“Unfinished Portrait” is composed of thousands of small portraits of U.S. troops killed in the Afghan and Iraq wars. On the cold Saturday night that marked the eve of 11 years of war in Afghanistan, it was displayed outdoors near the impromptu speaker’s stage in Kansas City’s Mill Creek Park.

The artist spoke at the opening of the memorial. She was followed by writers and spoken word artists, including veterans, who performed sets of readings, spoken word, and poetry throughout the evening, providing reflections on war, community violence, and hopes for peace.

Find out more about AFSC's peacemaking activities in Kansas City or contact us at

Watch highlights from the performances 

William Peck of Kansas City:
(some viewers may find the strong language in this video offensive) 

Lucky Garcia representing Veterans for Peace:
(some viewers may find the strong language in this video offensive)

David Harrington, Vietnam War veteran:

Julie Steinbach of Kansas City: