Locals weigh in on Cindy Sheehan’s actions

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2005

On television and radio talk shows across America, debate continues to rage over America’s involvement in the war in Iraq. Should we continue to stay? Should we come home? Is it all worth it, and if not yet, will it be in the end?

With no concrete answers to these questions, arguments could go on forever. But in all the discussions, all the verbal brawls, all the points and counterpoints being made, something seems to have gotten lost – the names.

The names, the faces, the histories, the hopes and dreams of those that are there, and those that will never return, a number that has risen past 1,800. Since Aug. 6, America has known the name of at least one – Casey Sheehan, who died last year in the war.

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That’s because his mother Cindy has held an anti-war demonstration outside President Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch. Sheehan has said that she intends to stay until either Bush meets with her and the rest of the families – he met with her shortly after her son died – or his month-long vacation ends.

Meanwhile, half a country away, Suffolk resident Kay Hurley hoped that more people would begin to think of those that have been taken forever.

&uot;I think (Sheehan) is bringing attention that we need to focus more on the actual losses,&uot; Hurley said. &uot;She’s bringing a truly personal element that makes it more real for most of us. I’d like to understand more of why we are sacrificing so much in lives.&uot;

Others seemed to think the media and Democractic party had blown Sheehan’s situation out of proportion.

&uot;It’s more like a media circus every day,&uot; said George O’Berry. &uot;My opinion is that I don’t share her opinion. I’m (in favor of) what’s going on over there. We need to stay and get it taken care of instead of cutting and running.&uot;

Helping his daughter Tara Worley with the Lakeland field hockey team, Paul McClenney agreed.

&uot;It seems like the whole thing’s been kidnapped by the Democratic party, and they’re leading the charge,&uot; McClenney said. &uot;I think it’s all political. Bush already met with her after her son died.&uot;

To Jackie Knight, that wasn’t enough.

&uot;I agree with (Sheehan) one hundred percent,&uot; Knight said, stacking mail at the Chuckatuck post office. &uot;She has the right to speak her mind. (Bush) is putting very little importance on her, and that’s an insult. I’m totally against the war. We don’t need to be losing anymore young people. (Bush) never fought in a war, and I don’t think he understands it.&uot;

If one of her daughters wished to go into the service, Gisele Bradshaw said she’d understand.

&uot;Did (Casey) go in by choice?&uot; she said. &uot;It’s not like he was drafted. If one of my daughters went in willingly, I’d feel the same way. (Sheehan) needs to move on.&uot;

When asked for his opinion, Harold Howell hesitated for a moment.

&uot;She’s got her own reason, and it’s a good one,&uot; he said slowly. &uot;I don’t approve of her protest. Her son got killed because he was protecting us.&uot;