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Did You Go to a Vigil?


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Here's mine: I went to a vigil with about 50 people in the small town of Cheverly, Md. Several people took turns speaking. We sang "Give Peace a Chance." Then we broke up the circle and talked to friends and new aquaintances. The Prince George's Sentinel and the Gazette were both there. We're assuming that the Washington Post was either covering the event over at the White House or had decided this was all beneath them.
-David Swanson

White House photos

White House report and photos.

Gallery of photos sent in from AZ, MI, DC.

Video of Tulsa OK vigil.

Orlando vigil photos.

Gallery of photos sent in from Highland Park IL, Sacramento CA, Pacific Grove CA.

Video of Baltimore vigil.

Photos from Oceanside, Calif.

Many more photo galleries.

Gallery of photos sent in from Arlington VA and New Orleans LA.


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About 40 to 45 people gathered in north austin last night to light a candle for solidarity with Cindy. Several hundred people gathered in downtown austin to stand up for her and her vigil at "the ranch" in crawford. At our small group of young parents with their kids, grandparents who fear for their grandkids, and a couple of dogs, sincere statements were made in support of Cindy Sheehan. People spoke from the heart. This is the second supportive public gathering I have attended for peace and bringing home the soldiers. I will continue to do this.

We had a group of just under a hundred people on Warm Springs Blvd in Fremont on all 4 corners of a large intersection.

The support from passing motorists was continuous, a cacophony of honking horns and waving hands.

Here are some pictures...

About 100 people and one dog gathered in Green Valley, Az. (a city in southern Arizona with about 15,000 residents, mostly retirees) sang peace songs and prayed together with lit candles. There were 4+ groups who also met in nearby Tucson. One woman in Green Valley in a wheelchair shared that she had been in Berkeley in the 1960's but had never come out to a peace vigil before. She said it was inspiring to see so many people come together to stand for peace. Several people said that they have children in the military, including a local minister. Many people said that they would like to do more peace vigils on a regular basis and June Wortman, the organizer of the vigil said that they are welcome to join the local Women in Black group that meets every Friday (and has been meeting in Green Valley for two years).

We had a great vigil in Buffalo. There were 3 total. I attended one at Gates Circle organized by Joni Russ. Over 100 people attended.

The media was there in force. We were on the 10pm, 11pm and morning news. I'm hearing from a lot of people that they saw us on the news.

Additionally, there were passers-by who were inspired and previously unaware of the issue at hand. They joined in! It was great.

I don't know how to post the photos. If I figure it out, I'll try.

We had over 500 people at Laurel Canyon & Ventura in Studio City, CA. There were quite a few veterans and military families.

Photo gallery at: http://flickr.com/photos/65075011@N00/

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There were 3 vigils in and around Melbourne last night. I went to the one outside the mall. We had at least 50 people there. Some had loved ones in Iraq. Some were veterans. Some were veteran protestors. Across the street 3 men staged a counter protest. We did have a reporter there from the local paper. She wrote
a fairly decent story, although it was buried in the paper: http://www.flatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050818/NEWS01/50818...

In the rural village of Bakersville, NC, 14 people, men, women, and children, stood in front of the old courthouse by the traffic light, starting under a dark cloudy sky and ending under pounding rain. The candles went out and were re-lit, umbrellas and tarps appeared. One woman, who knew nothing about the event, was taking a walk and came across us. She joined in with a borrowed candle and told us how Republican is her husband. We could sympathize. This is Republican territory, with no Democratic elected officials in our county, nor standing for us at the state or national level. Except for our governor, and we can't figure out how he keeps his seat! But the people who stopped and thanked us, or waved as they passed, made our evening. As we chatted among ourselves, we found new resolve to keep on protesting a war against the innocent civilians in Iraq, and standing up for our soldiers who are being ill-used.
Bravo to those who dared to stand with Cindy Sheehan. We must support our troops who are trained to go where and when they are told, whether they like it or not. It's not their fault they have been lied to and abused by their President and his chosen puppeteers.
The truth must make us free once again.

I went to a vigil in Suart on my way home from work. The vigil was held at the base of the Roosevelt bridge, which is a very busy traffic area. There were about 50 people there holding signs, waiving, and flashing peace signs to the passing cars. I was told there were some more people on the opposite end os the bridge also. The reaction was posative from about 95% of the cars passing by and it was a pleasent experience. I have never attended a vigil, rally or any political event but I felt this was something I needed to do. I hope we made a difference.

I went to the vigil that was held in my community. What a site to see when we arrived there were people already lined up on the side walk. The side walk faces a major street which was great for visibility. I'd say there were about 100 people, then with in minutes a 100 more showed up. In all we counted 209 that is not including all the cars that drove by waving, honking their horns, and yelling thank you. It was truly amazing. I looked to my right then my left and saw people of all walks of life, colors, and ages. I knew right then that those who had served and have passed on were smiling down on us. As the moon rose and the candles were twinkling the energy we created connected with the spark that Cindy Sheehan started and together we made a blaze. I will post the pictures when I get my film developed it was beautiful and powerful. Thanks to all those who made the difference.

No one from the press showed up but one felt a spark of the old sixties energy and rising opposition to the Iraq War.
a woman told a story about her father and Vietnam which was utterly moving

A R Graham.

"They got the guns,
But we got the number
Jim Morrison

WWW.LIZARDKINGLOUNGE.COM

OK. So the mainstream press ignored your event. Don't expect them to help up -- they are corporations with a whole lot of skin in the game, and NOT on the side of our troops or Democracy. Some will do a little coverage because they fight the constant struggle between their corporate agenda and profits (the reason why TV networks would air NETWORK) but don't expect long-term or strong support.

Take pictures of your events. Create press releases. Send them to your media, but more important send them to sites that DO care.

BE THE MEDIA! KILL YOUR TELEVISION AND SAVE YOUR DEMOCRACY!!!

Charlie L
Portland, OR
CLL2001@Gmail.com

Is there a schedule for future anti war vigils in each state? I am in Cleveland Ohio and would like to know if there are any other ones scheduled for either Ohio or Savannah Georgia.
Thanks,
Lynne

There is a request for a moment of silence at noon on Friday, August 19, 2005. I assume that is LOCAL-TIME noon in each city, and not relative to Crawford, but am not sure.

There are calls for additional vigils on Saturday, but I haven't heard the details.

There is a mass mobilization that Cindy has indicated her support of on September 24-26 in Washington, DC.

Check around the web and find these things and more.

Charlie L
Portland, OR
CLL2001@gmail.com

In my neighborhood in NYC there is a local group who gather every Tues night from 6-7 pm on a street corner (the same corner every week)with a banner calling for the end of the war. There are sometimes only 2 people, but often there are more, or people stop on the way home from work to stand with them. At any rate, those of us who live here know that we can count on seeing/joining them. They organized the vigil to support Cindy in our neighborhood on Wed. night and publicized the fact that they meet every Tuesday -- I assume we will have a much larger turnout from now on. I would think that anyone interested in continuing the vigils could start such a one on their own turf.

The third Wednesday of every month CodePink: Women for Peace of Orlando, FL sponsors a candle light vigil at the Rosalind Ave side of Lake Eola Park in dowtown Orlando. We will contiue to hold these vigils until all our troops return home from Iraq. We generally begin around dusk but you can check www.codepinkorlando.com for exact times. Next month we will meet 9/21 at approximately 8:30pm. This is a somber, respectful event and we welcome all who share our call for peace!

Gerry, what street corner? We were at the Eleanor Roosevelt statue in Riverside Park. I'd like to join your group one evening and then try to get a weekly one going at the statue.

There will be a huge Pro-Peace Anti-War protest in DC on September 24, with other events and gatherings lasting the entire weekend. Check out Moveon.org for details. Also, busses are being arranged for in many cities across the US. My two sisters and I are going from Rochester, NY.

Liar Liar World On Fire...thank you King George.

We had about 120 people gather at the Delaney Park Strip in a pouring rain. And this in a solid red state. I only saw one overt hostile reaction to our gathering and there were many honking and waving in support.

Seventy five people were overjoyed at the opportunity to voice their objection to GWB's illegal, immoral and failed adventure into Iraq.
In response to the front page, four column story in today's Ocala Star Banner, p eople have been calling me today, disappointed that they did not known of the opportunity to publicly express their opposition to a failed policy which has left everyone susceptible to greater terrorism.

Over 50 peacemakers from the Mahoning Valley came together at the Vietnam War Memorial in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, to declare their opposition to the War in Iraq and their solidarity with Cindy Sheehan and all others who have been victimized through death by this ugly, bloody war, increasingly reminiscent of the Vietnam War.
Names of each of the 91 soldiers from Ohio who have been killed in Iraq were read; the name of at least one casualty representative of each of the 50 states was also mentioned in this candle-light vigil.
Among the messages on the many signs were: "politicians lied, we died"; "BUSHAME: you lied, they died".

The Bellevue vigil was at the busiest intersection in town, Northeast 8th and Bellevue Way, which has shopping on 3 corners and a hotel on the fourth corner. There is no 'public space' other than the sidewalks.

We got there late, but there were still several dozen "pro-Cindy" people there, out of a total of about 250 at one point. People were holding candles (duh!) but otherwise quiet and unremarkable. Across the street were about 25 "anti-Cindy" people (similarly, there were more there earlier), many dressed in red white & blue, carrying big flags, Bush signs, etc. (Note for future rallies: Bring Flags - the righties don't own it! We all do!)

Many of the people driving by honked in encouragement, gave peace signs, etc. They tended to be younger, driving sedans and older cars. Others (fewer) accelerated past the intersection, flipped us off or averted their glances. They tended to be middle-aged, driving SUVs, most of them with tinted windows (which, to me, is symbolic of the whole Bush culture - to hide in plain view and build walls between them and us). For those who don't know Bellevue, it is where many of the Microsoft millionaires live and shop, very upscale. Very Republican town, as well.

I heard from one of the attendees that a "pro-Cindy" person crossed the street and engaged several people from the "anti-Cindy" side, several of which then crossed the street to join the "pro-Cindy" group.

Apparently the appeal was "we're here for the same reason most of you are here for" - in support of the troops. We may disagree on why we are there and how we got there, but we are united in our desire to support the troops and bring them home alive.

We ignored the hothead (to use Hunter S Thompson's term) "Flag Suckers" that inevitably show up at these things. This intersection has had several other anti-war rallies in the past.

The cops maintained a low-key presence; about a dozen of them hanging around in pairs talking to one another. They seemed to be more wary of the "anti-Cindies" than they were of us. I, for one, thanked the cops for being there.

I also attended the Bellevue vigil. I was surprised at how many cars passing honked or gave a thumbs up sign. There were aat least 23 vigils in the Seattle area last night, Bellevue being one of them. I did not see any media people, so when I got home I called the Seattle Times and the Eastside Journal. I had answers from both this morning. The Seattle Times had a good article and pictures, as did the PI. The Eastside Journal said they did not know ahead of time. I promised to notify them the mest time.

I joined a small group at the Post Office in Central Sq., Cambridge, MA. I had checked the MoveOn Web stuff to find out where the local vigils were happening. A group that does a vigil in the heart of Central Square every Weds. was just down the street. We each had 10-15 people. Later, they came & joined us. We just lit candles & stood on the sidewalk right near a busy intersection. Lots of people drove by & honked, in solidarity. We hear there were at least 400 people at a vigil at Park Street T Station in Boston, & many, but I don't know HOW many, at 2 locations in Harvard Square--Unitarian Univ. Church, & Cambridge Common. It felt great to support Cindy & be part of a very human & visible "stand up" to the devious & morally bankrupt "Administration". I am also very moved to see all the pictures posted here. Thank you! And especially, Thank you MoveOn.Org!

OUR PRAYERS ARE YOUR IN OUR MIND FOREVER

I attended one of the vigils organized by Moveon here it Tucson which was well attended (over 200) and covered by two TV stations and the Arizona Daily Star. The highlight of the evening was a song for Cindy sung by the Tucson Raging Grannies.

Following are the words...

Bill Keyes
Tucson

Cindy's Song
(Tune: "Mr. Tambourine Man"- Bob Dylan)

Words written by: Connie Graves of the Tucson Raging Grannies

Hey, Mr. President, why won't you talk to me.
I've been waiting and i'm not planning to be leavin'
Hey Mr. President, why won't youi talk to me,
I'll be here in the moring still a-grievin'

Though my son's now gone from me and never can return,
his memory still burns,
thoughts of needless death turn and spin while i stand waiting.
Your callousness confuses me, I need to hear you say
that there was no other way,
and that this war's about something more than simply hating.

(CHORUS)

Tell me why you believe our sons and daughters have to die...
you shake your head and sigh, but i've heard too many lies,,
your governement denies that our troops die just for oil and power,
I'm tired of the excuses, there were no WMDs,
and spreadin'democarcy just doesn't seem to me
to have much to do with nine-eleven and the Towers.

(CHORUS)

Though you now sing a different song we know this war was planned
long before you made your stand, but it's gotten out of hand,
broken bodies in the sand, death by your command,
and you don't seem to see the hatred that we're breedin'.
Your so-called war on terror just doesn't justify
the mothers here and there who cry, who watch their children die,
It's past time to question why, your way cry we must defy....
the all for peace we all must now be heedin'

(CHORUS)

Your've opened up the gates of Hell and let the demons in,
greed and hate rise from within, it's your lies that are a sin,
and this war we couldn't win even if we were righteous.
I'm tired of war and I'm tired of death,
I'll stay 'til my last breath,
I stand with American a-waitin' peace, truth and justice.

(CHORUS)

Words copyrighted 2005 by Connie Graves glittercg1@yahoo.com

About 300 people attended our vigil on a warm summer evening. There were people of all ages - small children, babies in strollers, teenagers, young families, middle aged Moms and Dads, and quite a lot of grandparents, too. Some brought their dogs, and many families attended en masse. Some came in uniform, some came in wheelchairs, some brought photos of loved ones who had died in Iraq.

Almost everyone brought candles, and almost everyone brought signs. About 40 people stood at the edge of the park alongside a busy street, while the rest of us formed a large circle around a grouping of candles. The people alongside the busy street held up their signs and candles, and quite a lot of passing cars honked their horns in support.

Everyone was very welcoming and very friendly to others as they approached the group. A lot of us who protested Vietnam in the 70s commented that this was almost like deja vu. We never thought we would be protesting a war again, but here we are.

Our organizer lit the candles in the middle of the cirlce, and all of us stood, candles in hand. There were a few media people there, who interviewed a few participants and took a lot of photos. The atmosphere was quiet, reverent, and dignified as we stood in silence for the 30 minutes, each of us thinking of why we were there, and how we could make a difference.

There were some quiet conversations, most of them about Cindy Sheehan and how we admired her and what she is doing; some of them about how the war has touched them personally. It was nice to be with people who think and feel the same way that I think and feel.

I am glad that I attended. It enriched me, but more importantly, I feel much more a part of what Cindy is doing and I am inspired to help Cindy more.

I wanted to go to a vigil in Minneapolis, but my wife worked and it was late for my 5 yr old daughter. So we made signs: hers a decorated peace symbol and mine said "End the War", and sat in our front yard on a fairly busy street. We had our folding chairs and a candle and we sat there for about 30 min. We got honks of support and a few passersby praised our little vigil. My daughter really doesn't understand war nor did I expose too greatly on what it was. I felt good that her first experience connected to it was from an alternative to the national and media hype.
Heard Cindy's Mom had a stroke and she is leaving the camp. We'll see what happens. Two rather important visitors from Minnesota are just arriving.

Now that is a "family value"! I was very moved reading your vigil experience. "and a child shall lead them". Thank you and your daughter for sharing the light! No greater lesson can be imparted to the next generation for they learn by example and you've set her on the right path.

I attended a vigil in St. Louis with an estimated 360 people, and another in the city had 60 people. Many passers-by honked and flashed thumbs-up and peace signs. See pics at http://www.stlimc.org/newswire/
display/487/index.php

What do you expect from an illegitimate president but an illegitimate war. Surely, you don't expect that prisoners in Iraq, and other places wouldn't be torchered. Because, the same George W. Bush is in charge that was the govenor of the state of Texas in 1996 when prisoners from the state of Missouri were sent to the private prisons in Texas where they chained up and were being bitten by dogs. I remember seeing a film shown locally on tv of prisoners squirming around on floors in chains while being beaten and bitten by dogs. For credibility purposes please contact The StLouis post.

I attended the vigil at Camp Casey near Crawford. I estimate about 200-300 persons showed up. Of course, Crawford is in the middle of Republican country, so not bad, considering.

We held our regular weekly Wednesday vigil yesterday, August 17, but instead of the usual 15 or 20 people, there were 50! We do this every Wednesday afternoon in front of Manhattan's Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue, but this week we dedicated our vigil to Cindy Sheehan. Our numbers were augmented by many Code Pink members, including several little girls, and our usual bunch of grannies and a few Veterans for Peace. Inasmuch as people from all over the world pass by us, it was a good opportunity for us to spread the message globe-wide that there is a large opposition to Bush and his war here in the United States. I have pictures, but don't know how to send them. Please advise.

In the small town of Lewes De there is a group of people who stand by the Zwanendael Museum every Sunday for about 45 minutes in a silent peace vigil. The founder of this action organized a vigil last night through MoveOn and the other organizing websites. When I got there (I had to cut out from a faculty meeting early and race to Lewes) the vigil had started. My partner and I walked down the line of people until we saw an opening and stepped in, lighted our candles. Our vigils are entirely silent - people pray in whatever way they believe in praying, or meditate, for those who have died, those who are still in the midst of war and violence, for the families, for our country, our world. There were about 130 people there, the most that have attended any of the vigils. I saw people driving by giving thumbs up or the peace signal, saw no hostile or negative signs from passers by. Thank you all for making this happen, we need to continue, the nation is beginning to wake up.

In Healdsburg, California, where Cindy came to talk last March, our vigil was on the lawn at my house, attended by approximately 40 people. One of the most significant comments was made by a woman who had dinner with Cindy when she was here in March. She shared with the group that Cindy is extraordinary because she is willing to openly admit that her son Casey died for no good purpose at all.

There were about 40 of us on a lovely warm August evening. We lined up around the western rotary, a beautiful site. The center of the rotary is a tiny park, with grass, trees, and flowers. We looked across to an American Flag; directly behind us was the dome of the state capitol building. We had Veterans for Peace, Bridges for Peace, and a few DFAers, and held up signs, and candles. Lots of folks honked and gave us the V sign as they drove past; one woman, who appeared to be with a young boy of 6 or 7 drove around twice, honking the whole time -- I'm betting that she's a Mom.

Last night between 200-300 people attended a candlelight vigil for peace in support of Cindy - in this very red city (John Ashcroft's birthplace)in a very red state. We were there about two hours and dozens of cars, trucks, even a semi, went by honking and raising the peace sign or simply waving. It was SO encouraging.

Linda

I went to a silent candlelight vigil in Nevada City, CA, which is a progressive town in a conservative county with a majority of Bush supporters. About 200 people attended. Some people brought their kids or grandkids who held candles on a bridge overlookiing the freeway. Many people driving by waved, honked, or gave the thumbs up. A few drove by, slowing down, to check us out and check out the scene. Some people with the local chapter of Veterans for Peace showed up. There were a couple of guys there who ranted against us, but the response of a majority of people driving by was positive.

More than 150 people attended a candlelight vigil to support Cindy Sheehan and bring the US troops home from Iraq which was held on the front lawn of the Black Rock Center for the Arts in the new Germantown, Maryland Town Center from 7:45 to 8:30 PM. All ages were represented, and all kinds of people were there, including the local Moslem community. Many of those present were planning to attend a rally to support Cindy if she brings her campaign to the White House, about 25 miles away. Many will also attened the September 24 march to stop the war.

Last night I did something that, for me, took some courage. I finally put my actions where my words have been for a long time. I attended a vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan and against the war in Iraq. It was a little surreal for me. I am not used to physically taking any action; I usually let my words on the web be my attempt to influence events. I drove to the small town of Hamilton, GA and stood a half-hour vigil with a group of strangers. All that I had in common with them was an opposition to the war and to the Bush administration's misuse of our military.

Now, I want to make something very, very clear at this point. I am NOT anti-military. I hold the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard in high esteem. These brave men and women make a commitment to put their lives on the line to defend my family and me. I appreciate and honor their service. It is precisely because I hold them in such high esteem that I am outraged and horrified at the losses they have sustained in this unprovoked war in Iraq.

For me the days leading up to the war in Iraq were like living out scenes from Orwell's _1984_. The ease with which our leaders shifted national attention from the war in Afghanistan, which I reluctantly came to agree with, to Iraq still astounds me. The blatant lies and distortions. The complicity of the major media outlets. All of this served to put our soldiers at risk.

And now over 1,800 have died so far. Over 10,000 have sustained horrible physical injuries. God knows how many suffering from PTSD. It is indefensible. And all the President can continue to repeat is that we will stay there until the job is done.

What job? Why are we there? Why are our soldiers dying?

It can't be because of the mythical weapons of mass destruction. I can't even believe we are now there to help the Iraqis start a democracy. Democracy cannot be forced on a people at the point of a gun. If we are there because of the human rights abuses of the former regime, why aren't we in North Korea or the Sudan? Human rights abuses abound in those countries.

Ironically, this "war on terrorism" has led the US to go against the principles of human rights in our zeal to punish those the government has help up as our enemies. How can we hope to really win anything if we abandon our principles? We are better than that. We need to lead by example, not excuse our behavior by saying, "But that's what they would do to us." We are not them. We need to set and maintain a higher standard.

Our soldiers have become targets.

Think for a moment. If a foreign army invaded the US, even if it was for the best of intentions, how many ordinary citizens would do whatever they could to fight that army? How long would guerilla warfare rage to get those foreigners out of OUR country? How outraged would we be that they would dare to tell us how to live our lives? Is it then so hard to understand why so many Iraqis are not throwing rose petals, but bombs at our troops?

These are some of the reasons I want to end the war. I know it is not as simple as saying the troops will all leave tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month even. Our leadership has dug a deep, deep hole by starting this war. And, unfortunately, that hole is being filled with the bodies of some of our best and bravest. President Bush and his leadership team need to find the most honorable solution and honestly present it to the American public. We must find a dignified way to bring our people home before we suffer another humiliating Vietnam-style defeat.

That is the honor our dead deserve.

I attended the vigil in downtown Dallas tonight at City Hall. We had about 150 show up for it. It was a somber affair. Many in attendance had already been down to Crawford. I plan to go this Friday for the noon Prayer Service. Everyone who has been to Crawford comes back very emotional.

At our vigil, we all got to say anything that was on our minds. I said "just like the Dixie Chicks, I am ashamed that George Bush is from Texas". Than got some laughs from the crowd!

We sang Amazing Grace, America the Beautiful, and Just Give Peace a Chance. A wonderful tribute and vigil to our troops and the people of Iraq, who have suffered more than we will ever know.

GOOD for you, Im happy to hear that everyone isnt hanging their heads and not standing up & telling the truth. Bush is a lier, thief, biggiot, war mungler, murderer, crook, suck up, and I am a Texan. Im ashamed of telling anyone that im from Texas, because he calls this his home. Bush makes me sick and he is an embarassment to this nation and all its people. I dont believe he was EVER elected into office, that he did favors or promise of favors to get in office illegally. His Brother is just as bad as he is and so is Bush Sr. This Bush bunch has ruined this great nation, caused other countries and people to hate Americans. This was all done in the name of greed, destruction, and then need to have power over the people. What is the difference in Bush and Hitler? He is sneakier about his killing. The big industry put Bush in office, like the oil industry, timber industry, ect. Chaney is the same breed....so tell them like it is. We dont like Bush, Chaney, daddy Bush or the brother. We are ashamed of you and you are an embarassment to this great nation.

Virginia Beach - 300 people turned out for the vigil. Amazing for this town. Normally only a hand full of people have ever stood in public here for peace. I rounded the corner and got chills - all sizes, all colors, all ages, all in support of peace, our troops and Cindy. I think the tide has turned and compassion has overcome fear - at least it is a very fine start.

Peace, Prissy

My Wife and I found a vigil not too far from our home in Western New York. We made our way there along with another couple whom we met when we stopped to ask directions. We told the other couple that we had just learned about the vigil and wouldn't know anyone there. We were wrong. We knew EVERYONE there. They were America. Young and old. WWII Veterans and Mothers of active duty soldiers. Veteran peace marchers and first time activists. They were all beautiful and their faces glowed in the candle-light as they proclaimed their support for our young troops and their wishes for honesty from President Bush and their unanimous desire to bring our troops home.
My wife was diagnosed in April with 2 types of cancer. Who could blame her for sitting at home and self-grieving? But her love for this country and it's most precious children compelled her to light a candle against the darkness and to share Cindy Sheehan's grief and to fervently pray that the light of truth penetrate this Administration and this insanity comes to a halt.
For my part, I am a Viet Nam combat veteran and daily grieve for the mothers of the friends I lost in that false war, and pray to my God that we Americans will find a way to return to the hope and promise we once offered to our global family.

South Pas has a small town feel even tho we're right next to LA and Pasadena. It was heartwearming to see about 200 souls turn out for Cindy and to have the most enthusiastic support from cars going thru the busy intersection at Fair Oaks and Mission that I've witnessed since before the war began! Buses, trucks and numerous cars honked long and loud. Many candles and cups were passed out by South Pasadena Neighbors for Peace and Justice as well as posterboard crosses. Alot of people brought signs and they sang Blowin' In The Wind. It was a celebration and solemn at the same time. We were with you Cindy!!

My husband and I went to Sausalito, where 200+ people lined the street with candels and thoughts of our soldiers over in Iraq and Afganistan who are there for the wrong reasons. Their lives were given not in vain, but in their belief that they were doing something noble. It was not their fault that the noble cause was oil, power, and control. Mill Valley had the seniors group who have a peace sit-in on the street every Friday, San Rafael had a huge turn out. There were many more. I can't say how many folks but I am sure 85% of Marin County would like the war to end now. This president is shameful.

I went to a vigil in front of a Universalist church on Central Park West. About 200 people of every size, age, race, sexual orientation, and color showed up and stood quietly until a young man standing on the church steps started to play his guitar and sing. He sang some of the anti-war songs from the Vietnam War era and many people joined in. It was heartbreaking to hear "when will they ever learn?" and to realize that our leaders have learned nothing from that horrendous mistake. When he sang "America the Beautiful," I was too choked up to sing--all I could think of was a bumper sticker I saw last summer in a small town in Massachusetts: Proud American Shamed by Bush.

About 350 came out for our vigil in Santa Rosa, CA. We stood at the edge of our Wed. Night Downtown Market in the Free Speech Zone. The street is closed off to pedestrians but we had to keep an area open in the middle so market goers could come and go. We were lined up 4-5 deep along the curbs.
As we stood there with our signs ("Bring our children home" and "We support you Cindy") and candles, we couldn't help but notice the young men and women walking up and down the street. Some looked at us but most just walked by giggling to each other or talking on their cell phones. One woman near me, a mother of three teen age children, lamented that they weren't stopping to stand with us. "They are draft age, so you'd think they'd be involved and interested in what we're trying to do," she said. You'd think. A few tried to strike up a dialogue with them but no luck. Tragic.
Reading about these vigils from all over the nation is gratifying and affirming. We are not alone, although from the main stream media you'd think we were. Focus, focus, focus. Keep the pressure on. Each one of us CAN make a difference.

For every action there is an equal & opposite reaction.

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it just changes form. And so it was today with the vigils on behalf of military mom Cindy Sheehan over the needless death of Specialist Casey Sheehan.

It was a beautiful day, beautiful in that specific late summer way so often evoked in descriptions of September 11th, 2001. A day with slightly slanted sunlight & a strange glow.

A day supposedly caused by what happened on 9/11, as President Bush so fondly claims, yet seems to so frequently forget.

For my immediate family, this event is particularly bittersweet as both of my mom's brother's, each Vietnam vets, are experiencing severe emotional, mental & physical health issues.

Joe, quadreplegic, served in the army for just six months at the age of 18 in 1967, is on the verge of entering hospice with a medical file that would literally fill the trunk of a car & the tale is too long to tell here.

Tom, a permanent drifter in distant Florida, is off his meds, calling every hour or so with a crazy tale of falling off a ladder & sustaining a terrible eye injury by landing on a pencil, begging for money. Is it street drugs again- or lack of perscription medication? We just don't know. This is a man who came home from Vietnam & would prowl the house & yard at night with a Bowie knife between his teeth. Who showed up at a suburban mall wearing fatigues, looking deranged but was unarmed.

We've spent the last three days on this crisis hotline or that one, trying to get him some help. Otherwise my Mom's been at the hospital most nights for the last three weeks, watching her strong as a lion brother waste away to 65 pounds, finally unable even to feed himself.

So this is where we are now.

Somehow Casey's story is partially our story too. Because this country does not take adequate care of its veterans as things stand.

77 people signed up after my Mom offered to host the vigil in the space of two days. Unfortunately we had plenty of candles & signs left from the last MoveOn vigils. And it just so happens that after the first vigil & leaving a flyer at work inviting people to come, she was written up even though technically it was not a violation of workplace policy for her to do so. That was way back when Coalition losses were at 1,000.

We have since doubled that number. And frankly we don't know much about the "other side." By "other side" I mean civilians.

What we do know is the justifications offered by the Bush Administration have shifted several times, and that no WMD were ever found. What we do know is that Casey Sheehan is never coming home. What we do know is that Halliburton has made a hell of a lot of money off this war & the war in Afghanistan.

Cindy Sheehan Vigil for Casey photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62553394@N00

Lackawanna County Courthouse, Scranton, PA Aug. 19, 2005

------

The vigil was covered on the local television news this morning after an attendee offered to be the media contact person. I had the task of inquiring about whether or not we needed a permit to gather. The Mayor's Office had me call the Courthouse. The Courthouse had me drift into someone's voice mail.

The local television news coverage in the afternoon emphasized the fact that "Some people in the Courthouse think this event is unpatriotic, they object & they won't be attending."

So much for the permit. WE THE PEOPLE still retain the right to peaceably assemble.

People made their way onto the square. We brought red white and blue candles.

About 100 of us formed a large circle. My mom made a short but passionate speech about supporting military moms & families & outlined Cindy's request, emphasizing some things about Casey.

I got up & said - Look at these red, white & blue candles. Don't you dare let them divide us into red states & blue states- We are Americans now, here, together. United we stand, divided we fall.

And united, we stood there. Republicans, Democrats, Indies, non-voters, young, old, male, female, working class, middle class, dressed up, dressed down, skinny, overweight, short, tall, blonde, brunette, silver haired, hippies, yuppies, the employed, the unemployed, those with health insurance, those without. Renters, owners. The down and out, the bums on the benches, white, black, straight, gay, not sure, college educated, self-taught, artists, musicians, lawyers, truck drivers. Parents, singles, kids, grandparents.

You know- Americans- you remember them.

We stood in silence for about 20 minutes, then people started to speak in turn. A news crew was filming, two newspaper reporters were also there.

One person said- They're starting to do body counts. Just like in Vietnam, at dinner time. And they are lying. They are not counting the wounded. They are not telling the truth. And they won't let us see the coffins. Our boys are coming home in body bags to be buried in their native soil- and they will not let us see the coffins.

A different man said: Where is Osama bin Laden?

Another voice, Irish-American author Macaulay Mccourt (Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes brother) said: Every person counts, every voice matters, we must use our voices. Ghandi made a difference. Jesus made a difference. Martin Luther made a difference. Being here makes a spiritual difference. We must not give up. We must speak out.

A 15 year old high school student, male, said: "Some people say that being against the war means being against the troops, against this President. But they forget, America was founded on the right to criticize our leaders. That is who we are. It is our duty as patriots to speak out." The kid had to be a junior in high school, not a day older.

A woman stated baldly, "They claim to be Christians. But real Christians know violence is not the answer."

A woman told a Camp Casey story that happened this week when a man with a diesel truck pulled up & parked. And though he disagreed with the protest, his son had died in Iraq & he had come to see if someone had remembered his son & put his name on one of the crosses. He was taken into the field of crosses & they found the name of his son- then they (not sure who the person was) sat down with him, on the grass, and wept.

Someone yelled: OUR KIDS ARE DYING- FOR WHAT? FOR NOTHING!

A young girl standing next to her mother, who was holding a photo of her brother, recently deployed to Iraq said: Every day I read the DOD reports in the back of the newspaper expecting to see his name, or the names of his friends. It isn't fair for Americans to be dying in a foreign land when there is so much work to do here. I don't know if my brother will come home.

I said: Ask yourselves, did the 9/11 hijackers carry Iraqi passports- Or did they carry Saudi passports? George Bush kisses the face of the Saudi Prince [and to be honest, one person yelled "No, they were holding hands!" and another yelled, "Bush is gay!"] & sends our kids to die in the oilfields of Iraq- yet he did not serve himself. And he is neglecting urgent urgent urgent Homeland Security measures!"

Someone yelled: PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY HAD OTHER PRIORITIES- LOOK UP THE DEFINITION OF CHICKENHAWK AND SEE WHAT COMES UP! GOOGLE IT!! YOU'LL SEE THEM- YOU'LL SEE THEM ALL!

I said- Ask them why they are building so many permanent bases in Iraq if they say some troops are coming hom in time for the 06 elections- How cynical is that?!

A woman said: Find an Air America station- they are telling the truth. Someone else said- Ed Schultz is down in Crawford at Camp Casey this week.

Then the hymns started-

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Sister help to trim the sails, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sails, hallelujah

Jordan's River is deep and wide, hallelujah
And I've got a home on the other side, hallelujah

Jordan River is chilly and cold, hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, hallelujah

When I get to Heaven I'm gonna' sing and shout, hallelujah
Nobody there's gonna' kick me out, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

Michael's boat is a music boat, hallelujah
Michael's boat is a music boat, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

The trumpets sound the Jubilee, hallelujah
The trumpets sound for you and me, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah

We stood singing hymns, peace & protest songs, chanting, as the light died & the streetlights came on. People wandered by & came into the circle.

My mom wrapped it up & the consensus was for those who can and are willing to return every night until Bush meets with Cindy.

Breaking up, people formed groups & exchanged news sources, names, email addresses & phone numbers. Some still active DFA people were present as well as some ACLU people & I squeaked in my usual Wes Clark plug to nods of agreement. Some people drove in from New York as it was the closest event they could find.

Many vowed to return.

All vowed to keep working for change.

The tv coverage was pretty good later on the late night broadcast- Showed six or eight substantive comments by protesters, but stated "more than 50 people" came whereas my count clocked in at 113.

But they closed with the observation that Cindy had met with Bush once & quoted her as saying she thought "he was a spiritual man."

Somewhere in Florida, my Uncle Tom is I hope, resting or at least not climbing the walls. And a mile or so away from here, I hope my Uncle Joe is also sleeping somehow peacefully on this one of many long painful - incomprehensibly painful- nights.

-HollyC

http://www.SecuringAmerica.com

It was a very good turnout on the plaza with lots of supporting honks; looked to be 300- 400 that came by.

That's great! I was at the one in Independence. About 30-40 of us gathered in front of the statue of Harry S Truman. Not bad when you concider that there were four events in a ten mile radious! The Indep. Examiner was there taking pictures. I e-mailed them this morning and they called me back! They're going to print my letter Friday or Saterday!

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