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Sheehan's anti-war campaign now in D.C.
9/21/2005, 9:16 p.m. CT
By ELIZABETH WHITE
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan pledged Wednesday to "force change to happen" during protest speeches outside the White House and Capitol.
Sheehan arrived in Washington after a three-week cross-country bus tour that began near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. She is expected to participate in an anti-Iraq war rally Saturday that organizers hope could draw tens of thousands of people.
Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed last year in Iraq, wants Bush to explain why he sent the United States to war and say what steps he will take to end the conflict.
"This is where we will force change to happen because we the people of America are the checks and balances on this government," she said. "And we will end this war."
Later, Bush paid tribute to the mothers of military men and women who have died in the line of duty.
He proclaimed Sunday as Gold Star Mother's Day and instructed that the U.S. flag be flown over government buildings. He also urged Americans to display the flag as well.
"On Gold Star Mother's Day, we recognize and pray for the devoted and patriotic mothers of these men and women in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our liberty," the president said in his proclamation.
Sheehan's one-woman protest in Texas this August re-energized the anti-war movement as well as supporters of the U.S.-led invasion and of American troops serving in Iraq. Rallies in opposition to the anti-war protesters also are set for this weekend in the capital.
"I think she should go home," said Leslie Denunzio, a tourist from Los Angeles who was standing outside the White House when Sheehan's contingent arrived to drop off a letter addressed to Bush.
Gold Star Families for Peace, which was co-founded by Sheehan, planned to begin airing television ads that would run on CNN in Washington and the Fox News Channel nationwide for several weeks, beginning Thursday.
The group Win Without War purchased ads for Thursday's editions of 14 newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Denver Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today.