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By Cindy Sheehan
The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today:
My own country, I cannot be silent.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today is the day that our nation "celebrates" Veteran’s Day. For most people it is a day to sleep in and catch up on shopping, chores and other errands. For me, and too many others, it is just another especially hard day in an endless litany of hard days since Casey was killed in Sadr City on April 04, 2004.
A few days ago, I flew into the Houston Intergalactic airport for an event with the Houston Peace and Justice Center. As I was descending the escalator, I saw a contingent of about 15 people holding a big sign that said: “Welcome Home Anthony.” The excited people were holding flags and balloons and Anthony’s mom, who was fairly jumping up and down with joy, had a t-shirt on that read: “Proud Army Mom.” Although I was very happy for the family, I sat on the floor by my baggage carousel and wept when Anthony finally rejoined his family to the applause and cheers of everyone waiting for their luggage.
I wept because I will never be able to forget Casey’s final homecoming. My family and a few of our closest friends were picked up at our home on Saturday, April 10th by the funeral home’s limo. We followed the hearse to San Francisco International Airport. Normally a gregarious group, we mostly sat in stunned, shocked silence in the back of the limo.
When we arrived at SFO, we had to wait at the United Airlines loading dock while Casey’s cardboard encased body was loaded from a fork-lift onto a conveyor belt that conveyed his senselessly lifeless body into the back of the hearse while we all sobbed. No honor guard. No glove clad pall-bearers treating his remains with respect, just two visibly shaken United employees. Then we sat on the curb for over a half hour waiting for Casey’s First Cav escort who we never saw again. His job was to certify the remains after “they” got to the funeral home. After that, it was the viewing, the vigil, the funeral mass, the burial, the growing feelings of betrayal and bottomless pain.
Even though I have not been silent about our nation’s biggest export, violence, since Casey was killed and I have been on this quest for peace and justice, I have also had to reconcile myself with my part in Casey’s death. I have to beg his spirit for forgiveness for not being a better mom to him and not taking the responsibility to educate myself about the deviousness and callousness of the Military Industrial Complex which runs roughshod and unchecked all over the planet. My son is dead because of my ignorance and that is a fact that I must deal with everyday and will be dealing with until I rejoin him in the only Mother-Child reunion that George has made possible for us. I was among the zombie-like “patriots” who unconscionably and tragically gave one of my children to the murderous elite in this country to kill and be killed to line their already over-flowing pockets.
I have begged forgiveness from the people of Iraq for not doing more to stop my son from being an occupier of their country and an oppressor of their people. If I cared as much for all the children in the world, I never would have raised a child that would have gotten anywhere near the US military. In the Pledge of Allegiance, we robotically recite the line, “One Nation, under God,” as if the USA were divinely appointed to murder other people (From our own indigenous populations to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan) when we should be saying: “Every Nation is under God.”
Part of my Mea Culpa for not being more aggressive in trying to prevent Casey from going to war is to try and enlighten other mothers and fathers to the awful truth before they have to experience the tragedy my family has had to go through.
While the coward Dick was desecrating the Tomb of the Unknowns and George was babbling to a group of Gold Star Parents that he met with in Waco, Tx, yesterday, hundreds of thousands of loved ones were in mourning because of their actions. Tens of thousands of our loved ones are injured either mentally, emotionally, or physically and millions of Iraqis are dead, displaced or devastated and the Bush Crime Mob continue to walk freely among good people.
Please take the lesson from Veteran’s Day as “Never again.” Never again will we send our children to fight for the criminal ideals of the war pigs and never again will we allow ourselves to be manipulated by false patriotism and exploitive fear of whomever the war pigs say we should fear.
We should “fear” the pigs of war and never follow them down paths of destruction again!