Even suffering from sunburns, fire ants, severe heat and humidity, the camp continues with a beautiful and growing spirit. At the press conference this morning Cindy announced the plans for a Bring Them Home Now Tour from Crawford to Congress. Three buses will leave Crawford on Wednesday heading out in spokes north, east and south. Cindy will join one of the buses and travel Wednesday to Austin, by Thursday she will be in front of Tom DeLay's office near Houston. Alongside the bus tour is Meetwiththemothers.org, which begins with a letter from Cindy and the Mothers to all the members of Congress and the Senate asking them to meet and answer the questions Cindy has for Bush, but with an additional question: What are you doing to stop the deaths? The bus tour will hold rallies outside offices of members of Congress and the Senate with Gold Star Families, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. The mothers will ask to meet with them just as Cindy has asked to meet with Bush. The website will track the answers, who is meeting and who isn't -- holding those in power responsible and asking them to act to end the killing and stop the war now.
The main concern of the press today was the plan for tomorrow. We are expecting 1,000 to 2,000 counter-protestors and probably the same number will be coming to visit Camp Casey for our rally and Texas-style barbeque. We invited the Bushes to join us. No RSVP yet. Cindy said, "We welcome them to Crawford, we will treat them with respect. The Sheriff has arranged for them to have a rally in town and those who come to stand across the street from us, can enjoy our rally and fine Texas music." Cindy sent an e-mail to the group today and invited the Gold Star Families traveling with them to meet privately with her tomorrow evening.
The afternoon was full of trainings, meetings about the bus tour and lots of music. Many in camp are sharing their talents and their voices. A bus of Veterans for Peace arrived, a car full of IVAW's from California, Nancy and Charlie from MFSO, and many people returning for their second or third weekend. I was sitting at a table with about eight bloggers and Paul clicked off his phone and said, "My family thinks I am crazy." I asked if they didn't support him being here. "Oh no, they support that I want to be here," he replied. "It's just that I came for a few days and have been here over a week."
It's a story you hear over and over. No one wants to leave, no day is the same and the community continues to grow. Each day is more complex and varied than the last. The time flies. We are always shocked when it is time to go to the crosses and listen to Taps: "It can't be this late." And yet, at the same time it feels like you have lived a month in the day for all that happens. We wear name tags with hash-marks for the number of days at Camp Casey. Ann Wright, youthful but in her late 60s, has more hashes than anyone. She arrived with Cindy from the Vets convention and has been the camp coordinator ever since. She is always in good humor, even though she has been living in a tent and working 6 a.m.-to-2 a.m. shifts most of those days.
Other new additions to camp today were a free speech tent for all the groups coming to share their materials, sell their t-shirts and display their banners. A kids' table with toys and art materials appeared, another WiFi because we had overloaded the first one. The bloggers put a password on theirs so they were certain of access and for the rest of us it is first come, first serve. A huge first aid tent filled with medical supplies and a few doctors and nurses on call in the tent. One of the doctors saw Cindy on television in Glasgow on CNN and came to be a doctor in camp.
Cindy's night ended with ten minutes on the Bill Maher show. Everyone gathered around to watch. She was radiant and fresh in her responses to Maher's humor. With many of her responses the entire camp broke into thunderous applause -- she had her own studio audience but it didn't need prompting.