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.

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.

“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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