The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) had a reporter and a photographer at the vigil of about 400 people in support of Cindy Sheehan Wednesday evening at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma, and published this account on Thursday.[1]  --  Organized on short notice by FUMC member Mike Collier, it was the largest antiwar gathering in Tacoma since March 2004.  --  In other parts of the paper were indications that Sheehan's protest was having an effect, as right-wing and militarist letter-writers tried to undermine the peace movement's new focus.  --  One lambasted the "victimization and exploitation" of Cindy Sheehan by "liberals," "hypocrites" from whom "we wouldn’t be hearing a peep" "were this a Clinton war, a Gore war or a Kerry war."[2]  --  Another, the wife of a Vietnam veteran and the mother of a Desert Storm veteran, denounces Sheehan as "part of the Bush hate machine propped up by the liberal media and the antiwar wing of the Democratic Party" who "espouses the pre-war propaganda [sic] that we went to Iraq for oil and that the president is a liar" and said she "knew why" they fought and "why my son is an active duty soldier," then says that she "has nothing but pity" for Cindy Sheehan: "The president didn’t kill her son; the enemy did."[3]  --  (She might think differently on this point if she read a recent essay by Richard Koenigsberg arguing that “sacrificial scapegoating is the fundamental mechanism supporting and sustaining religion and civilized communities,” that war is intimately bound up with this mechanism, and that nations may be said to kill their own young as a sort of blood sacrifice sustaining the nation.)  --  Another letter writer wrote in to comment on a column that had defended George W. Bush's refusal to meet with Cindy Sheehan, saying, astutely:  "To attribute ulterior motives to these people is really shabby.  It tells me more about Parker than about those who stand with Sheehan."[4] ...



By Paul Sand

** Gatherings nationwide, including in Tacoma and Puyallup, show solidarity **

News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
August 18, 2005

[PHOTO CAPTION: Tom Tennent, a Vietnam veteran, and his dog Lucy join a vigil for Cindy Sheehan on Wednesday at Tacoma’s First United Methodist Church.]

Mark Overland stood near the rear entrance to the church sanctuary Wednesday evening and surveyed the scene: Somber men, women and children entered the First United Methodist Church of Tacoma. Some lit candles. Others quietly looked for an open pew.

“It’s probably appropriate that this feels like a funeral,” said 51-year-old Overland of Gig Harbor, who expected a simpler gathering on the street. “This feels like a funeral for our country.”

More than 300 people gathered at the Hilltop-neighborhood church in a show of solidarity with Cindy Sheehan, the California woman and anti-war activist who has been camped outside President Bush’s Texas ranch since Aug. 6.

Sheehan has demanded a meeting with Bush to ask him about why her son, Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, had to die in Iraq in April 2004.

Her request has drawn intense media attention in tiny Crawford, Texas, and a backlash from supporters of Bush.

It also stirred more than 1,500 vigils around the country Wednesday, coordinated by the advocacy group, including events in Puyallup, Bellevue and Seattle.

The group’s organizers said they had received 50,000 RSVP’s via e-mail by midday Wednesday, and that they expected the turnout nationally to be double that.

The response, organizers said, showed how Sheehan had become a catalyst for an anti-war movement that had been relatively unfocused since the 2004 presidential campaign.

The vigils also served as the first large-scale opportunity for Americans to grieve together for the nearly 2,000 soldiers who have died since the war started in March 2003, said Mary Lynn, United Methodist’s lay leader.

“The thought that we can open a national dialogue without being disrespectful . . . is a good thing,” she said.

After the 45-minute service, where church members led the crowd in war-specific prayers and protest songs, the group proceeded out of the church and onto the sidewalks that line Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Several women held signs that said, “STOP THE WAR” in bright capital letters. They all held small white candles and sang “We Shall Overcome.”

Tom Tennent, a Vietnam War veteran, joined them. Tennent, of Tacoma, said Sheehan’s actions and his strong opposition to the Iraq war have inspired him to drive more than 2,000 miles next week to stand with protesters outside Bush’s Texas ranch. “I am hurt and I am angry and I am embarrassed for my country,” said Tennent, 60. “I can’t just be angry another four years. I can’t just sit and watch the TV.”



By Dan McDonald, Tacoma

News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
August 18, 2005

Liberals have hit a new low with their victimization and exploitation of Cindy Sheehan and her deceased son. She and they have no shame and no motivation other than to provoke confrontation with President Bush.

Were this a Clinton war, a Gore war or a Kerry war, we wouldn’t be hearing a peep from these hypocrites. Bosnia? Never happened.

Having lost a son last year to suicide at age 21, I understand Sheehan’s right to grieve the loss of her beloved child. But he died a man -- a soldier in an all-volunteer force, fighting for principles he believed in which are obviously not shared by his mother or others of her ilk who wish to reap all the benefits of a free society, including the right to dissent, but are unwilling to take the necessary risks.

Freedom is for everyone, not just Americans, as our troops prove to the world every day. Soldiers like young Sheehan are heroes, not victims. His mother should be proud.



By Sally Taylor, Steilacoom

News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan is a part of the Bush hate machine propped up by the liberal media and the antiwar wing of the Democratic Party. She espouses the pre-war propaganda that we went to Iraq for oil and that the president is a liar. She also espouses the “cut and run” policy of antiwar activists in the Vietnam era.

I experienced the fear of having a husband and a son in a combat zone. I know why my husband went to Vietnam and why they were both in Desert Storm. I know why my son is an active duty soldier.

I have nothing but pity for someone who believes her son’s death counts for nothing. The president didn’t kill her son; the enemy did.



By Janet Dawes, Shelton

News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
August 18, 2005

Kathleen Parker’s column about Cindy Sheehan (TNT, 8-16) and Parker’s apologies for George Bush’s refusal to meet with a grieving mother take your breath away.

Has it occurred to Parker that Sheehan’s actions provide an opportunity for a lot of people to be able to demonstrate their own frustration and anger at the foolish losses of Bush’s war in Iraq?

To attribute ulterior motives to these people is really shabby. It tells me more about Parker than about those who stand with Sheehan.