SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Veterans on Wednesday began painting the names of the 4,484 U.S. soldiers who were killed during the Iraq War on a mural in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.

The mural is tucked in an area known as “Veteran’s Alley,” near Shannon and Geary Streets.

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Navy Veteran and artist Amos Gregory said the alley is a place where too many homeless vets came to sleep and use crack cocaine and heroin.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Gregory said the death of fellow soldier Ruben Chip Santos was the inspiration for the project.

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“Ruben was a [Iraq War] vet who suffered post traumatic stress disorder and he killed himself. He committed suicide. He was 27-years-old,” he said.

The project also includes a painting of a street sign reading “Haditha, CA,” referencing the 2005 incident in Haditha, Iraq where a squad of Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women and children.

Gregory said it should take two months to complete painting all of the names.

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