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Sheehan speaks at anti-war gathering in Stone Mountain


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By MAE GENTRY
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hundreds of people packed a Stone Mountain church Saturday night to hear Cindy Sheehan, the woman who spent most of August in Crawford, Texas, trying speak to President Bush about her son's death.

Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed last year in Iraq, has been crisscrossing the country to advocate withdrawing U.S. troops from that nation. She spoke to more than 400 anti-war activists at Victory Church in Stone Mountain at a gathering organized by the Bring Them Home Now Tour, which is holding events like this one all over the country.

"I've spoken to thousands of people this week," said Sheehan, who had just flown in from Los Angeles. "I'm so tired, and then I get someplace like this, and I'm so full of love and so full of energy."

Sheehan said her one-woman vigil outside the president's ranch was spontaneous.

"The first night, we were sitting in lawn chairs in the dark," she said. "This was how well this was planned. We didn't even have a flashlight. ... They can lie about me. They can lie about my family. If they didn't knock me down when they killed my son, nothing's going to knock me down."

Her solitary effort has sparked a national anti-war movement that will culminate Sept. 24 in Washington, when peace advocates will gather there.

"I had given up on my country, but we remembered what we had forgotten after almost five years of a virtual dictatorship — that we the people have the power," she said.

Before Sheehan spoke, parents of other young people killed in Iraq spoke.. Among them was Patricia Roberts, whose son Jamaal Addison of Lithonia was the first Georgian to die in the war.

Phil and Linda Waste of Hinesville have three sons and two grandchildren who have served in Iraq. "We're going on to Washington and take our country back," Phil Waste said.

Linda Waste, weeping as she spoke, said, "We keep hearing about sacrificing for a noble cause. There's nothing noble about the illegal occupation of Iraq.

"It's the people that are making the sacrifice — not the House, not the Senate, not the Bush administration."

Four veterans of Iraq also said they want the war to end.

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