The past couple of weeks have been moving, exciting, astonishing, humbling, happy and sad all at the same time. On Thursday, August 18, as I was preparing to leave for Crawford to support Cindy Sheehan in her vigil at President Bush’s door, I got a phone call. Cindy’s mom had had a stroke. She was coming to LA and needed help while she was in town. I spent the next several days with her and her family there and Friday, August 29, came to Crawford, to Camp Casey II.
I’ll be here ‘til Cindy leaves. She is a remarkable women, at once humble and fully aware of the sea change she has created with her lawn chair, her tent and her determination to take her questions to the President for the American people. Cindy wants to know:
1. What is the noble cause for which Casey died?
2. How many more lives are we as a country willing to sacrifice in Iraq?
3. What is your plan to bring the troops home?
These days in Texas have been a flood of images, events and feelings.
Saturday, August 27, was as amazing as it was unexpected. I knew there would be a rally in support of Cindy. The war-mongers’ bus tour was coming to town and people supporting Cindy just kept pouring in. Busses arrived from all over Texas throughout the day, more than 2500 people gathered, both under our beautiful tent at Camp Casey II and Camp Casey. The speeches were heartfelt, articulate, short and to the point. No one (well, almost one, but that’s another story) rambled on for too long. Joan Baez was Joan Baez — her beautiful voice remains so clear and strong! There were other musical moments, some professional sounding, some not — all intensely heartfelt. The mood was warm and inclusive. Each time volunteers were needed, double the number needed appeared instantly.
A particularly poignant moment was when Cindy met with a young man -- they are all so young! -- who was one of Casey's roommates at Fort Hood and was there when Casey was killed. She asked him to tell her something about Casey's life in the Army. "He was quiet, kind of kept to himself. He was a pretty good guy. He liked to collect those action figures.” Cindy said, "Yes, we got those back after he died." Another active duty soldier drove from New Mexico with his father and brother to see Cindy and thank her for what she’s doing. He is going to be deployed to Iraq in two weeks.
Cindy's combination of humility and natural leadership continues to astonish. At one point she said, smiling, "Just sitting in my camper and Joan Baez is practicing her songs, yep, a typical day in my life at Camp Casey." Then, during her speech, "Camp Casey is going to end the war in Iraq!" Organizers plan to take Camp Casey to members of Congress in their districts and demand that their Representatives answer Cindy's three questions plus two more. It's time for our elected representatives not only to answer the questions but to finally direct them at the President themselves and begin to act to end the war.
I keep thinking I’m going to finish this, but I’m so exhausted at the end of each day — a combination of heat, humidity and the fact that I’m not 20 years old and just can’t stay up all night. I will get this off to you and share more impressions and memories later. There’s a new website: http://www.meetwiththemothers.org (not up yet) and you can keep checking for updates now at: http://www.codepinkalert.org/
Love and Peace (NOW!!!), Susan
Camp Casey Veteran