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Iraq, Afghan veterans seek memorial for war without end

Brian and Alma Hart of Bedford scouted memorial locations in August. Their son, Private First Class John D. Hart, died when his unit was ambushed in Iraq in 2003.
Brian and Alma Hart of Bedford scouted memorial locations in August. Their son, Private First Class John D. Hart, died when his unit was ambushed in Iraq in 2003.Credit: Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/File 2009

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WASHINGTON — Brian and Alma Hart of Bedford can often be found visiting marker 60-7892 at Arlington National Cemetery, the grave of their son, who died when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2003. But their visits to the capital do not stop there. They also go in search of another, more prominent location to memorialize Private First Class John Hart — and the estimated 2.5 million of his comrades who served in America’s post-9/11 wars. The Harts are part of a disparate movement of veterans and families seeking to establish a national memorial to honor those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a drive fraught with political barriers and raising complicated questions about the duration of the “global war on terror’’ and how Americans view the unpopular conflicts it spawned that have taken the lives of nearly 6,800 American soldiers — almost 4,400 in Iraq and 2,300 in Afghanistan.

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