This post will not be filled with my own words; it will be the sharing of thoughts, those of others. Last evening, on August 17, 2005, MoveOn.org organized a nation-wide vigil. The event was meant to honor Cindy and Casey Sheehan. People were acknowledging the lives of each, a mother and her fallen son. She is grieving and he is physically gone from this Earth. He lost his life fighting for his country; he was an American soldier.
People attending the vigils were standing in support of the living, and eulogizing the physical passing of those slain in a questionable war. Many persons gathered. They mourned the loss of limbs, the loss of sight, and the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual toll war can take.
Crowds came to these ceremonies and each person was doing as Cindy does. They were protesting the Iraq war and American war policies. People came in droves requesting an end to the killing; they want an exit strategy, now! They want to be heard by the President of the United States. Whether King George II chooses to hear their plea, well, that is another story. His choice is his own; nonetheless, many throughout the nation chose to speak.
Words were few, visuals were plenty. I offer these in the form of a slide show. Please journey within. View the Cindy Coalition in peaceful action.
Below, I am also offering some of the many thoughts and feelings of those that participated. If you would like to read more of these, please travel to MoveOn.org.
While attending this observance people were asked, “What was the best moment” for you. They reflected and expressed what they thought the most meaningful experience of their evening.
Please share your own thoughts, feelings, and experience. I invite you to comment so that others might understand you, why you think as you do, practice as you believe is best, and are engaging as you are.
“Our candlelight vigil at Camp Casey was beautiful. There were hundreds of people here and we are hearing that hundreds of people were involved in vigils around the country. We at Camp Casey are so amazed and gratified that there were almost 1700 vigils around the country.” -Cindy Sheehan, Crawford, Texas
“Melanie House (whose husband was killed in Iraq) organized our vigil. She spoke briefly about her grief and about her hope that other wives and families will be spared the disaster that has come to her. She is very brave to be speaking out and I am very moved by her courage.” – Delia R., Simi Valley, California
“At the end of the period of silence our host read an editorial from this Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer by Celeste and Dante Zapata about the loss of their son and brother, Sherwood Baker. It was a moving moment and certainly encapsulated the essence of our ??not about politics, all about peace’ theme.” – Lisa L., Harleysville, Pennsylvania
“The most moving moment was when one of the military men in attendance read the names of the Michigan military deaths and included personal comments about each of the soldiers mentioned.” – Ann L., Howell, Michigan
“I met a woman with photos of family members serving in the military pinned to her shirt. ??This is my brother and his son, both serving in this picture. The other is my sister’s son, who’s going back for a third time to Iraq.'” – Northfield People for Peace and Goodwill, Northfield, Minnesota
“Well, more and more people kept showing up, and that was the best part. To know that you are not alone, and that there are others in your own community who are so supportive of Cindy Sheehan, and finding a new way.” – Kate M., Scappoose, Oregon
“The best moment was probably the half hour after the vigil ended with the tolling of the old church bell in the steeple. A few people left, but most stayed, talking in small groups, not wanting to give up the feelings of friendship, common purpose and hope they found there.” – – Caroline A., Kent, Ohio
“At the conclusion of the vigil, the coordinator introduced herself and asked for a minute of silence to remember all of our fallen soldiers. It was a dignified, respectful gathering.” – Elizabeth S., Westfield, New Jersey
“Two or three Vietnam veterans happened upon our vigil and join in with love, tears and peace in their hearts. They were very grateful. A mom whose son is leaving in 5 weeks for Iraq was there and was comforted by all the love and connections. A young woman put a photo of here brother in Iraq on our small altar.” – Katherine S., Lake Worth, Florida
“Being a new resident of a conservative Florida city I was concerned that the turnout might be miniscule; tears came to my eyes when I arrived and saw a significant number of participants with candles and signs lining the street!” – Leah F., Lakeland, Florida