Not without honor
Cindy Sheehan, the woman who inspired the vigils around the country last week, is a resident of Vacaville, Calif., between Sacramento and Visalia, and her fellow residents have been commenting on her efforts.
The Vacaville Reporter has posted a Sheehan archive of stories, letters to the editor, essays, and editorials (www.TheReporter.Com/Sheehan). Many expressions of reader opinion sought to pit Sheehan against her dead son.
“How dare she question President George W. Bush?” wrote reader Debbie Brown. “Mrs. Sheehan’s son, Army SPC. Casey Sheehan who was killed while serving in Iraq, did not question President Bush when he volunteered for duty. … Who is Mrs. Sheehan to question the president’s orders?”
Teacher Patti Tenckhoff wrote, “It saddens me to think that Mrs. Sheehan is not proud of her son’s sacrifice. But, too, it must be awful to lose a child. To me, it is pretty awful, as well, to think that a son may not be not proud of his mother. I will bet there were times when Mrs. Sheehan was proud of her son. … Those tender times are in the distant past. … Now, she is a puppet for the extreme liberals and is chanting all the usual far-left rhetoric. Frankly, it is offensive to me.”
“She will fade soon, but the notoriety she is bringing to our town will be lasting,” resident Ed Rust told a reporter.
“She has made her bed with socialists, leftists and many other un-American groups. Worst of all, I believe she has dishonored her son’s memory,” wrote Jeff Nelson.
But Sheehan has also received bountiful support in her home town.
“I’m proud it’s a Vacaville citizen who has committed to making a difference,” said Kristin Loomis. “Blessings on Cindy Sheehan for her activism.”
John and Gail York wrote, “[Our] family and friends are so proud of Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, and so grateful for the time and effort she is putting forth to save the lives of our family and friends in Iraq. We wish we could be … with her.”
Even a veteran of the first Iraq war who opposes Sheehan’s efforts spoke against some of the attacks on her that invoke her son’s name.
“There’s a couple of signs out here that say Casey would be ashamed of what’s going on,” Wolf Corrington said. “He might, but he might not feel that way. He was so quiet, he hardly ever said a word.”
Reporter and editor Diane Barney defended Sheehan against charges that she has changed her stance on the war since meeting with George Bush shortly after her son was killed and praising Bush afterward.
“We don’t think there has been a dramatic turnaround,” Barney said. “Clearly, Cindy Sheehan’s outrage was festering even then.” She quoted Sheehan saying, “We had decided not to criticize the president then because during that meeting he assured us ‘this is not political.’ And I believed him. Then, during the Republican National Convention, he exploited those meetings to justify what he was doing.”
A vigil was held at Vacaville city hall to support Sheehan on Aug. 17, the day such vigils were being held around the nation. At the vigil, there was this dialogue between two men:
“There are some that are so far over to the left side the right has to move over to let them in,” said Robert Hind, 68.
“You don’t think you’re too far right, (Sheehan) doesn’t think she’s too far left,” 62-year-old Charles Turner responded.
Protest of the war was already going on in Vacaville when Sheehan went to Texas. A weekly vigil is held on Merchant Street.