Monday, October 10, 2005

'''Peace Mom' Cindy Sheehan returns home to hero's welcome''

"OAKLAND – Peace mom Cindy Sheehan, after wrapping up her tour of the country, returned home to northern California where she plans to continue her protest of the Iraq war.
The mother who staged a 26-day vigil in front of President Bush's Texas ranch this summer received a hero's welcome Wednesday night from a hometown crowd attending a fundraiser for anti-war groups.

"I'll be a grieving mom until I die because of the lies that took my son," said Sheehan, making her first public appearance in the liberal San Francisco Bay area since the August vigil. "I plan on keeping this up until the troops are brought home." Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, died in April 2004 in Iraq. She has spent much of the time since speaking out against the war. After the monthlong vigil in Texas, she traveled the U.S. and also met with politicians, including Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-North Carolina.

Last week, she was arrested with more than 350 other people after a protest outside the White House. Sheehan said she has received encouragement and support in Vacaville, Calif. the San Francisco suburb where her three surviving children still live. Sheehan, whose husband filed for divorce while she was staked out in Texas, has since moved to Berkeley.

"People come up to me and say, 'Cindy, thanks for doing what you are doing and welcome home,'" she said. Sheehan's speech at an Oakland movie theater was a benefit for several anti-war groups, including Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization she co-founded to mobilize families of soldiers who died in Iraq.

Sheehan's return to her home state does not signal a break in her activism. She is scheduled to participate on Saturday in a silent peace walk in Los Angeles where she will be joined Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who spent 40 years in exile from his native Vietnam."-from the AP story.

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