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Camp Casey Memorial Stolen

Camp Casey Memorial Stolen
By Deborah Mathews
Lone Star Iconoclast

Thursday 15 September 2005

Camp Casey Memorial, Crawford, Texas
(Photo: The White Rose Society)

Crawford - The Camp Casey Memorial on Prairie Chapel Road was removed by thieves earlier today. Not a single item is left at the memorial site.

Crew members working for McLennan County said they witnessed items being removed by an unidentified individual and contacted their office to inform commissioners.

Upon arrival at Camp Casey, honor guard members who had been at the Crawford Peace House immediately called McLennan County Sheriff's Deputy R. Polansky to report the theft.

Among the items stolen were numerous crosses, Casey Sheehan's boots, tents, and other items.

The 26-day vigil of Cindy Sheehan outside the Bush ranch ended with a cross-country tour to spread the anti-war message. Camp Casey became a semi-permanent memorial, to remain until the Veterans For Peace organization could establish a solemn removal ceremony.

Items that remained at the Camp Casey Memorial following Sheehan's departure were the three original tents under a pavilion, crosses of the war dead, signs, and personal items of the individuals involved. Members of the guard filed a report with the McLennan County Sheriff Office.

The three honor guard volunteers diligently listed, item by item, the belongings that were stolen from the site. Tents, pillows, signs, books, a box of literature, sleeping bags, an air mattress, flowers, plants, tarps, memorial crosses - even Casey Sheehan's boots that stood in front of the small wooden cross bearing his name. Virtually every item that was at Camp Casey is gone.

Veterans For Peace member and honor guard volunteer Paul R. McDaniel said, "My role here was as caretaker. Now it's gone."

Honor guard volunteer Linda Foley cried as she said, "Casey's boots are gone! His boots are gone. You tell me that we're not being respectful. Those crosses are probably in a trash can somewhere right now! His boots are gone. What kind of people would do that."

Honor guard member Sarah Oliver said, "His boots were one of the last things that Cindy had of Casey. I can't believe that anyone would take something like that."

McLennan County Commissioners road workers were in the area to post the "No Parking" signs that had been approved by the Commissioners' Court. Those signs were on a 26-mile stretch of several roads. According to a representative of the County Commissioners' office, the act of removing items from the ditch had nothing to do with the Commissioners and that this was done by a "private individual."

Organizers of Camp Casey Memorial had been in contact with neighbors of the site and had informed them that the memorial was temporary and would be removed when a removal ceremony could be organized.

McDaniels said, "We have tried to be as accommodating, peaceful, and graceful as we can. We wanted them to be aware of what was going on. We also took very good care of the area with the mowing and cleaning. We wanted to erect a permanent site at the Peace House, as soon as its garden was worked on. We were going to call it the Casey Sheehan Memorial Garden."

Following the tedious report given to the officer, honor guard members began to disassemble the poles of the pavilions tent that stood over the tent of Cindy Sheehan-the single item left at the site. One could walk through the area where the tents and crosses stood and see nothing. There was no evidence that Camp Casey had even existed.

Loading the tent poles in the back of a pickup, the three guardsmen said that they would return to the Crawford Peace House, finish a few chores there, and pack up to go home. "Someone will be there part-time to take care of the information flow," said McDaniels.

Veterans For Peace members will continue their support of Cindy Sheehan and her efforts against the war in Iraq. There are actions planned on Sept. 24, the day that Sheehan will arrive in Washington for a protest there. Other demonstrations are planned by the group in Waco.

The three members of the Camp Casey Honor Guard stood in a circle at the site of Casey Sheehan's cross, held hands, and wept as McDaniels offered a prayer of peace, got into their vehicles, and left Camp Casey.



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I'm not surprised. When I was there in August, Cindy's original tent at Camp Casey I was already almost a shrine. Without a 24-hour guard, I think it was inevitable that the evildoers would despoil it. I'm very saddened.But boots and crosses are, after all, just things. Cindy's message is what counts, and I hope Sept. 24 will show that.

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