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My Experience at Camp Casey
By Sherry Bohlen, National Field Director of Progressive Democrats of America
"A Rosa Parks moment"… "history in the making"… "a pivotal moment in history"… "the spark that will ignite a national anti-Iraq War moment"… these are all phrases that I used dozens of times in the 40 plus interviews that I did during the past week at Camp Casey. Standing with Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey was truly an experience like no other.
Cindy Sheehan took a courageous stand along the roadside just outside President Bush’s ranch near Crawford, Texas. She simply asked the President to be accountable and to justify the loss of her son’s life. She was willing to stand alone. She had no idea that hundreds (thousands before it’s over) would caravan and pilgrimage to simply stand with her in support.
Many who came have loved ones who are currently serving in the military in Iraq. That’s my story. My son, Thor, is serving at Tallil near An Nasiriyah. He’s been there two very long months. Others who came have had loved ones serve and are safely home. Many of us belong to Military Families Speak Out. Others who came have paid the ultimate sacrifice and have lost a loved one. Those are members of the club none of us wish to join – Gold Star Families.
There were incredible moments that will forever be etched in my memory. Moments like the Friday morning when President Bush’s entourage drove down the road right by the camp -- the road that’s flanked by over 500 white crosses. Earlier that morning the local authorities had shut down the road from Crawford out to Camp Casey; but not before 72 of our cars were able to make it through. Many of us were able to stand in silent vigil along the roadside as he drove by. I was there to stand with my sign that shows a picture of my son along with the caption: "Bring my son home now. He doesn’t deserve to die for a lie." The only way that the President didn’t see the crosses and those of us standing along the roadside, was if he closed his eyes.
The following morning, hundreds of supporters gathered at a rally in Crawford. After an hour or two of inspiring music and tender stories of lost loved ones, everyone was encouraged to pile into cars and caravan to Camp Casey. Over 500 cars made the pilgrimage a la "Field of Dreams." Cindy built it and indeed they came. Camp Casey was visited that day by 1,000–1,500 people.
The mood at the camp and at the Crawford Peace House is one of tranquil certainty that a movement is afoot. Dedicated people are showing up from across the country to direct traffic, cook food, wash dishes, and haul away trash. Food continues to magically appear a la "loaves and fishes." Beautiful people from across Texas walk in every day with pots of soup and a dozen pies at a time. Supplies are being shipped in from across the country. Much-needed money is being sent to help pay the exorbitant power bills that will come next month.
Cindy has vowed to stay the course and remain at Camp Casey until the end of George Bush’s vacation on August 31 or until he comes out to speak with her. If he doesn’t speak with her before August 31, she’ll follow him to Washington DC and set up an encampment there.
So come stand with Cindy if you can. If you can’t come, send a donation, supplies, or food; say a prayer; or send a good thought. Reach out and be a part of it. It feels rich. It’s truly history in the making.
If you can’t make it to Texas, I hope to see you all in Washington DC on September 24-26 at the national mobilizing events geared to end the occupation and bring our troops home. This event was already destined to be huge. With the new wind of change, it’s going to be monumental.
in peace and solidarity
National Field Director
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)