Veterans for Peace spent hours reading the names of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. A bell rang before each name.
The event took place in front of 1,000 symbolic crosses on West Beach in Santa Barbara.
The display has become known as Arlington West.
Founder Stephen Sherrill said he never realized the idea would take off.
The group plans to take a hiatus to think of other ways to show the cost of war now that the conflicts are not getting as much news coverage.