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Father of soldier killed in war disputes anti-war mom's views
[published on Thu, Sep 8, 2005]
By ERIC SCHELKOPF, Shaw News Service
BATAVIA – The father of a local soldier killed in the war on terrorism faced off Wednesday with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan.
"I said, 'I'm a Gold Star dad, and I wanted to make sure you are not speaking for me,' " Jim Frazier said.
Sheehan, a California woman who has become the face of a controversial movement to bring the troops home from the war in Iraq, was in central Kane County to speak at an anti-war rally at the district office of U.S. House Speak Dennis Hastert. About 300 Sheehan supporters and detractors attended the mostly peaceful rally, police said.
Frazier, of St. Charles, is the father of Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier, who was killed in March 2003 in Afghanistan. He was 24. A former Marine, Jim Frazier works in the office of Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn as a senior policy adviser in military affairs, a job he took after his son's death.
Sheehan's son, Casey, an Army Humvee mechanic with the 1st Calvary, was killed in April 2004 in Iraq. She grabbed national attention in August when she camped out at President Bush's Texas ranch to try to speak to him.
Although Sheehan's critics sympathize with her over the death of her son, they say her efforts are misguided and only serve to undermine the U.S. effort in Iraq.
Jim Frazier said it would be a mistake to withdraw the troops now.
"Whether you agree with the war or not, we are there. We have a mission to complete," he said.
Sheehan said after her encounter with Frazier that she speaks for herself and not all Gold Star families. She is a member of the group Gold Star Families for Peace.
A group of about 50 supporters of the Iraq War heckled Sheehan as she arrived at the rally, yelling "Shame on Cindy."
She acknowledged them as she spoke.
"This is America. That's their right to be here," Sheehan said.
The number of Sheehan supporters outnumbered the war supporters. Batavia Police Cmdr. Dennis Thomas said most of the 300 people in attendance were Sheehan supporters.
Sheehan made reference to the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina in her short remarks.
"We have seen this week the disastrous politics of this nation. We need to bring our troops home now. We need to have them here to protect America," Sheehan said.
During the rally, Mary Stevenson of Sugar Grove held up a sign that said, "Meet with Cindy."
"I am concerned about all those sons and daughters in Iraq," Stevenson said.
Stevenson does not have any family members stationed in Iraq.
"You don't need to know them personally to have grave concerns about them," she said.
Although there was plenty of shouting between the anti-war and war supporters, Batavia police made no arrests.
"Things went very well," Thomas said. "Everybody walked away having said their peace."
Hastert, R-Plano, was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday because Congress is back in session.