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Cindy Sheehan Planning Anti-War Bus Tour
By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Thu Aug 25, 1:51 PM ET
CRAWFORD, Texas - A fallen soldier's mother said Thursday that the an anti-war vigil she started nearly three weeks ago near President Bush's ranch won't end when she and other protesters pack up the camp next week.
Cindy Sheehan said the day after she leaves Aug. 31, she will embark on a bus tour ending up in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Then the group will start a 24-hour vigil in the nation's capital.
"I am not alone," she said at a news conference Thursday. "There's the people standing behind me here, but there's thousands of military families ... who want the same answers to the same questions."
On Wednesday, Sheehan returned to "Camp Casey," named after her 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed last year in Iraq.
"This is where I belong, until Aug. 31, like I told the president," Sheehan said at the Waco airport before driving about 20 miles to the Crawford site.
When Sheehan arrived at the campsite, she saw a large banner depicting her son's face. She sobbed and said she felt ill. Supporters brought her water and cold towels, and she recovered about 20 minutes later.
Sheehan began her vigil Aug. 6 on the road leading to Bush's ranch, vowing to stay through his monthlong vacation unless he met with her. She left last week to visit her 74-year-old mother in Los Angeles after the woman suffered a stroke. Sheehan said her mother has started physical therapy for paralysis on her right side.
Sheehan said she realizes that Bush has no intentions of meeting with the protesters, but that her vigil has accomplished other things.
"I absolutely think it's worthwhile because we've galvanized the peace movement," she said. "We've started people talking about the war again."
Sheehan's protest in Crawford has encouraged anti-war activists to join her and prompted peace vigils nationwide. She also continues to draw harsh criticism.
Conservative activists and military families were en route to Crawford from California on a tour called "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" The caravan coordinated by Move America Forward plans to hold a pro-Bush rally in town Saturday.
Among those defending Sheehan are former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson, who believes his wife's identity as an undercover CIA operative was leaked in retaliation for his criticism of the Bush administration in a 2002 New York Times op-ed piece.
"The Bush White House and its right-wing allies are responding to Cindy Sheehan and the military families' vigil in central Texas in the same way that they always respond to bad news — by unleashing personal attacks and smears against her," Wilson said in a statement released Wednesday.
Later Wednesday, Bush returned to Texas after a three-day trip to Idaho and Utah, where he gave speeches to rally support for the war. He said Tuesday that he recognizes Sheehan's right to protest and understands her anguish, although she does not represent the views of many families he has met with.
Sheehan and other grieving families met with Bush about two months after her son died last year, before reports of faulty prewar intelligence surfaced and caused her to become a vocal opponent of the war.