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Anti-war vigil draws protesters
August 29, 2005
Crawford, Texas: David Clemons seethes when he sees Cindy Sheehan on television, standing among small white crosses in an anti-war encampment named after her dead son.
To Mr Clemons her protest is a crushing insult to his own son, who was also killed.
"The lady is not honouring her son's sacrifice, because we don't have a draft and he went and signed his name on the dotted line," said Mr Clemons, of Winchester, Tennessee. His son Nathan, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb on June 14. "She'd better not be presenting herself as the voice of all the fallen."
However, Andre Lieurance, a retired naval officer whose son, Victoir, 34, was killed by a bomb the week before last, said he found Ms Sheehan so stirring that he might join her vigil at Camp Casey. "I just want some answers about why we're over there," said Mr Lieurance, also from Tennessee. "I don't even see the purpose any more. It's frustrating, and I'm angry."
Hundreds of protesters on both sides descended on Crawford, Texas, on Saturday for the most openly hostile exchange since Ms Sheehan arrived early this month.
Ranged against her are conservative activists and military families, including the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy!" tour, which began in Ms Sheehan's home town of Vacaville, California, and was due to arrive in Crawford yesterday.
Its figurehead is Deborah Johns, the mother of a marine serving in Iraq.
The pro-war demonstrators will hold a rally in the little town, not far from Fort Qualls, which was set up in memory of Louis Qualls, a marine killed in Falluja last year.
Gary Qualls, Louis's father, has set up camp down the road from Ms Sheehan as a counter-protest.
He said he was most upset that war critics were invoking his son's death, along with all the 1867 others confirmed as of Friday, as a reason for the war to end.
The New York Times, The Guardian