CRAWFORD, Texas - August 19 - As Cindy Sheehan leaves Crawford to help care for her mother who entered the hospital yesterday, members of Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out -- those whose loved ones were killed in Iraq, and those who have loved ones are needlessly in harm's way -- vowed to remain in Crawford and to carry on the vigil at "Camp Casey" in Cindy Sheehan's absence.
Families from across the country continue to come to Crawford to uphold the call for a meeting with President Bush, and an end to the war in Iraq.
Mimi Evans of Hyannis, Mass., said, shortly after Cindy left the Vigil, "My son is deploying to Iraq within the next week, and I am here in Crawford because I have the same questions for the President as Cindy does. Just what is the noble cause for which my son is risking his life?"
"Military and Gold Star Families will remain in Crawford throughout the month or until we meet with President Bush. We hope Cindy can return here, but if she is unable to, we are determined to continue to uphold the call for a meeting and an end to the war. The questions Cindy has for President Bush are the same questions thousands of mothers and families across the country have," said State Sen. Becky Lourey of Kerrick, Minn., whose son Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Scott Lourey was killed in Iraq on May 27, 2005.
Members of Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out will speak at a press conference at 11:30 a.m today (Aug. 19) at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, featuring Mimi Evans, Becky Lourey, Michelle DeFord, Nadia McCaffrey and other Military and Gold Star Families.
The following Gold Star and Military Families are in Crawford now, or will be arriving in the near future. All are available for interview:
Becky Lourey of Kerrick, Minn., arrived in Crawford Thursday, Aug. 18. Becky Lourey is a state senator in Minnesota who spoke out to oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq before the war started. Becky's son Matthew Scott Lourey, a combat helicopter pilot and Chief Warrant Officer assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, was killed in action when his helicopter crashed from hostile fire on May 27, 2005 near Baquba.
Mimi Evans of W. Barnstable, Mass., arrived in Crawford on Tuesday, Aug. 16. Mimi's son serves in the U.S. Marine Corps; he will be deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in the next week.
H. Elaine Johnson of Cordova, S.C. will be arriving in Crawford today (Friday, Aug. 19). Her son, Army Specialist Darius Jennings, was killed on Nov. 2, 2003 when the Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down in Iraq. That crash took the lives of 16 troops including Spc. Jennings.
Rose Brooks of Orangeburg, S.C., will be arriving in Crawford today (Friday, Aug. 19). Her son and daughter-in-law are in the Army, serving in Iraq.
Nadia McCaffrey of Tracy, Calif., arrived in Crawford earlier this week. Her son, Sergeant Patrick McCaffrey, was killed in an ambush in Balad, Iraq, on June 22, 2004. In defiance of the order that prohibits the media from filming flag-draped coffins coming in to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Ms. McCaffrey invited reporters to the airport to photograph her son's flag-draped coffin as it landed in California.
Michelle DeFord of Salem, Ore., arrived in Crawford on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Michelle's son Sgt. David W. Johnson served in the Oregon National Guard and was killed in action near Baghdad on Sept 25, 2004, when his convoy was hit by an IED (improvised explosive device).
Lynn Bradach of Portland, Ore., arrived in Crawford on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Lynn's son Cpl. Travis Bradach-Nall, served in the Marines and was killed near Karbala, Iraq, on July 2, 2003.
Karen Meredith of Mountain View, Calif., will be arriving in Crawford on Sunday, Aug. 20. Her son, 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard, who was fourth generation Army, was killed in Iraq on May 30, 2004.
Dante Zappala of Philadelphia, Pa., will return to Crawford today (Friday, Aug. 19). Dante's brother Sgt. Sherwood Baker was the first Pennsylvania National Guardsman to die in combat since World War II. Dante spent last week in Crawford as well.
Beatriz Salidvar of Fort Worth, Texas, arrived in Crawford last week. Her nephew Daniel Torres was killed Feb. 4, 2005, in Baygii 155 miles north of Baghdad on his 2nd tour of Iraq when an IED (improvised explosive device) exploded and hit his unarmored Humvee.
Ginger Williams of Chicago, Ill., will be arriving in Crawford on Saturday, Aug. 20. Ginger's son is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army; he is currently serving in Iraq, following deployment in June, 2005.
Jeri Reed of Norman, Okla., will be arriving in Crawford on Saturday, Aug. 20. Jeri's son Cody served in the Army in Iraq and was honorably discharged in fall, 2004. Cody is now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War -- http://www.ivaw.net.
Pat Vogel of Barrington, Ill., arrived in Crawford earlier this week. Pat's son, a member of the Army Reserves, served in Bacuba, Iraq from March 2003 - March 2004. He joined Iraq Veterans Against the War -- http://www.ivaw.net -- when he returned from serving in Iraq.
Adele Kubein of Corvalis, Ore., will be arriving in Crawford on Saturday, August 20. Her daughter is in the Oregon National Guard; she was wounded in Iraq during her tour of duty from April, 2003 to January, 2004.
Steve Fryburg of Bellbrook, Ohio, will be arriving in Crawford on Sunday, Aug. 21. Steve's son, currently a member of the Army's Individual Ready Reserves, served for six months in Iraq and may be activated to serve another tour. Steve is himself a member of Veterans for Peace and served in the U.S. Army from 1974-1977.
Deb Hagerman of Beaver Creek, Ohio, will be arriving in Crawford on Sunday, Aug. 21. Her husband is in the Navy Reserve and was deployed overseas at the start of the Iraq War. His contract with the military extends for several more years, and he may be deployed to Iraq during that time.
Beth Lerman of Dayton, Ohio, will be arriving in Crawford on Sunday, Aug. 21. Her oldest son is a Veteran of the first Gulf War; her daughter-in-law currently serves with the Air Force; and her youngest son entered the Coast Guard two and a half years ago. Her daughter-in-law and youngest son have not yet been deployed to Iraq.
Teresa Dawson of Gahanna, Ohio, will be arriving in Crawford on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Her daughter serves in the Army Reserves; her son is in the Ohio National Guard and is currently serving in Iraq.
Caron Collins of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, will be arriving in Crawford on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Her son serves in the U.S. Marine Corps and has not yet been deployed to Iraq.
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson of Boston, Mass., will be arriving in Crawford on Friday, August 26. Nancy's stepson/Charley's son Joe served in Iraq in spring, 2003 with the U.S. Marine Corps. He has finished his active duty service and is currently in the Individual Ready Reserves. Nancy and Charley co-founded Military Families Speak Out in November, 2002 with one other family. Military Families Speak Out now includes 2,500 military families from across the country.
Jane Bright of West Hills, Calif., will be arriving Thursday, Aug. 25. Her son Sgt. Evan Ashcraft was killed on July 24, 2003 near Mosul, Iraq.
Other Gold Star and Military Families are expected to come to Crawford from across the country between now and August 31.