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Opposing voices on Iraq end in harmony
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
By Ren´e K. Gadoua
As speakers Tuesday praised Cindy Sheehan and criticized George Bush's policy in Iraq during a rally at Syracuse's James M. Hanley Federal Building plaza, a few protesters interrupted to criticize the anti-war group.
But the two sides ended the local Bring Them Home Now: Crawford to Washington, D.C., Bus Tour event singing patriotic songs together.
"I think she's very brave," 16-year-old Laura Wood, of Marcellus, said of Sheehan, the mother of a U.S. soldier killed in combat in Iraq. Wood was among about 150 people at the rally.
"I feel she's dishonoring her son," said Sharlene Nemitz, of Chittenango, who wore a red T-shirt that described her as a Marine Corps Mom. Her son, Nathan Nemitz, 20, has been serving at an air base in Iraq for about a month.
Nemitz was among about 10 who held signs indicating support for Bush.
Sheehan spent three weeks near President Bush's Texas ranch to show her opposition to U.S. military presence in Iraq. She had planned to visit Syracuse Tuesday as part of the nationwide tour on the way to a Sept. 24 anti-war rally in Washington. Sheehan decided Monday to go to New Orleans instead.
The tour also visited Buffalo and Rochester and will be in Albany today.
At Clinton Square, Gold Star Mother Deb Dunham spoke at an event the Onondaga County Young Republicans organized for Families United for Peace and Their Mission. Members of the press outnumbered participants as Dunham talked about her son, Jason Dunham, who died in Iraq in April 2004.
Dunham, of Allegany County, said she disagrees with Sheehan but understands her grief.
"She's a mom doing her thing and I'm a mom doing my thing," Dunham said.
At the Bring them Home event, Cody Camacho, 23, talked of his love for the Army and said he believes the U.S. has been misled about Iraq.
"I joined the Army because I was a poor kid in Chicago," he said. "I thought we were going over there to fight soldiers."