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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-17-06 05:05 PM
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Veterans Welcomed Home to Camp Casey

Veterans Welcomed Home to Camp Casey
By Geoffrey Millard
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 17 August 2006

Crawford, Texas - Last August, Cindy Sheehan erected the tents of a nation's peace movement, setting up Camp Casey in order to ask President Bush a simple question. A year later, as I drove into Crawford and was greeted by the face of our president and the first lady on the "Welcome to Crawford" sign, my stomach turned, and I was forced to keep down a bit of vomit. However, upon seeing the face on the next "Welcome to Crawford" sign gracing the gate of the now permanent Camp Casey, I had to smile, seeing Cindy looking back at me with a loving smile only a mother could give. As an Iraq Veteran Against the War, I have found very few places that truly feel like home, but somehow when I see that welcome home sign at Camp Casey I know it is not the empty rhetoric of those support-the-troops magnets I see all over the cars in cities where VA hospitals close with little noise.

Today at Camp Casey, CODEPINK built a garden that was, as co-founder Jodie Evans put it, "for all of the women and children killed or otherwise affected by the war." In a land where the dirt is often the most flattering color around, a garden of pink flowers lights like a beacon of hope and relief for those ships looking for any port in this storm. The Iraq war has seen its share of civilian deaths, though one could not find this out by attention to any mainstream media - nor could one gain this information by seeing the daily actions of the average American, who continues life as though the war were over. This garden is a sign of the war's everlasting effects on civilians, but the veterans were the true focus of the evening's innaugural celebrations.

Overlooking the seemingly endless field of crosses reminiscent of Santa Barbara's Arlington West, a circle of supporters gathered to pay homage to veterans, both living and fallen. As Kathy Murphy of Gold Star Families for Peace stated, "Camp Casey has been likened to a table with four legs, those legs being Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace." This circle, too, could be likened to that table, as members of each group addressed the crowd of about fifty people. Everyone who spoke told of the home-like feeling evoked by Camp Casey, but the most striking testimony of the evening came from the members of MFSO and IVAW. Tamara Rosenleaf, of MFSO, spoke through her tears as she told the tale of a wife whose husband is in Iraq, and Lisa Leitz, also of MFSO, let the tears stream while telling of her husband's inevitable deployment to the war against which both have worked so hard.

The night, though, seemed to come to a head as IVAW members told of firsthand experience in the war. As I laid the boots I wore while in Iraq at the memorial to all veterans being dedicated this evening, only the sound of tears could be heard. The ominous silence of tears falling to this now sacred soil streamed steadily as Cloy Richards of IVAW read a letter he wrote in support of Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the lieutenant who has refused orders to Iraq and will begin his trial this week at Fort Lewis, Washington. After Cloy and I laid a wreath at the country's newest veterans' memorial, taps played and the crowd dispersed with a clear remembrance of why we all come to Camp Casey in the first place: an answer ... For what noble cause, George? For what noble cause?

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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-17-06 05:12 PM
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1. Bravo to the families who won't sit down and shut up.
And contempt for the cowardly boy king, afraid to confront the reality of what he's wrought. While he's out playing sadistic games in 100 degree heat,
the sons, daughters, husbands, and wives of the good people in this land
are following their orders--doing their best to stay alive and come home from the hell that George Bush has wrought in Iraq.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-17-06 05:42 PM
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3. Amen. Dimson never fails to disappoint. nt
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-17-06 05:20 PM
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2. Thank you all. K&R
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-17-06 05:45 PM
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4. Ah thanks for posting!
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