And with that act she created a spark which quickly became a flame. By the time I arrived at Camp Casey last weekend, it had become a roaring bonfire!
Channeling her grief into activism, Cindy has served to reinvigorate the antiwar movement while also creating a new avenue of expression for the ever growing voices of disillusionment, distress and dissent. For many she has opened a gateway into a broader discussion on the war in Iraq. Contrary to the reporting of most mainstream media, the majority of people who traveled to Crawford during August were not the "left-wing radical fringe ", "anti-war extremists " or "anti-patriots. Most were military families with children currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, or families whose children have been killed in this war; parents whose children were lied to by recruiters and again lied to by their government when they were sent to Iraq to fight this war.
They were joined in the camp by young Iraq veterans and older Vietnam vets. This was not a group of the "regulars " from the anti-war movement.
In fact, you could pick us out in the crowd because we were the few who knew all the words to the peace songs led by Joan Baez. But we were the minority! I will venture to assume that most of the estimated five thousand people who visited or stayed at Camp Casey during the month of August had never been to an anti-war rally in their lifetime, prior to this.
But for many, their lives have been transformed by this war and their faith in American leadership has been eroded. They came to stand with Cindy and support her message that it is time to end this war and occupation before one more mother 's child is lost. Others came to support these families and the message on a long banner strung along the roadside "Support Our Troops: Bring Them Home Now! "
Cindy took a stand in the dirt, speaking her truth to power and her message has resonated with millions across the country. Around her grew an anti-war tent city; people responded by traveling from every state in the US, Canada and Europe or by sending over $170,000 to the Crawford Community Peace House which helped coordinate transportation and food and water for the people who came!
In the spirit of the legend of David and Goliath, Cindy stood. It is the David archetype that touches our collective hearts.
Camp Casey is no longer a physical site but is now a powerful moving force in the call for an end to this war, a return of the troops, and an end to the killing of other mother 's children both American and Iraqi.
By taking a stand in the ditch on a 105 degree day in bush-country, Cindy has become an important instrument of change. She embodies the concept: "never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world- indeed it is the only thing that ever has. "(Margaret Meade)
As Camp Casey folded, Cindy wrote a departing note to her son Casey, after whom the camp was named and it read: "I promise you it won 't end until all of your buddies are brought home. And I promise I will fight for your unborn nieces and nephews and the rest of the worlds children. I love you. "
Cindy 's fight has just begun.
Dickelle Fonda Sugrcreek@aol.com is mother of a 20 year old son, anti-war activist since 1969, psychotherapist, community organizer with Neighbors for Peace in Evanston, Illinois.