This was posted to a listserv I get, thought some
might want to read it. JJ
Camp Casey

"Who else but the mothers could stand the heat, Who else but the
mothers could stand the attention, Who else but the mothers have the
patience, and stay focused,They accept it" E. D.

As we crossed through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and then
Texas, we peered into many cars to search for a sign that they, too, were
headed to Camp Casey. As we found our way into and through Crawford we got the "heebie geebies" and did not know what to expect. We wanted to quietly find the camp, and looked for signs. There
was a lady crossing the street with a video camera, toward the car next to
us.They looked like friendlies, so E... asked them if they knew how to get
there and she smiled and said yes. We wound our way through Texas prairie roads, sided by small farms, barbwire fences, wild flowers , scrubby
shade trees and hot pastures. When we arrived at Camp Casey 1 there was a Pro-Bush rally on the RIGHT and Downtown Ditch on the LEFT, with the police in the
middle. Camp 1 was clustered in the shaded ditch with canopies to protect
the dry goods area, info, food/water, and special interests like "spinning
for peace, IVAW,etc. We were directed to go down a road and park and camp,
being careful not to be on any part of the road, as it could mean arrest. We
parked in the 100+ heat, set up camp and cruised toward the canopies. We had
brought some supplies with us, water, first aid supplies(being an RN, I
volunteered to do Medic stuff),TP, disinfectant, hand sanitizers, soap,
wipes, YOU know.The camp was very well organized and the people working it
had on orange vests, very mellow and very good vibes. They had an
orientation available and informed us not to talk or approach any of the
Bush supporters or approach the Bush property. Casey "2" was about 4 miles
up the long country road, and they had peace shuttles to move folks from 1
to 2.
We took the shuttle to Casey 2 and everyone introdued
themselves and where they were from. We met people from Germany, Alaska,
Sweden, Montana, California, etc. The majority, however
came from Texas. As we made our way to "2" we passed one of the two
entrances to "The Ranch" secured by the police. Finally, we approached the
new camp,2, and saw a huge white tent approx. 150' x 100. The shuttles had
a "stand" set up at the intersection to the Bush ranch., where it turned
around to go back to 1.
The shuttles were constant and the drivers dedicated. The Secret Service was
at the barricade to the Bush entrance along with the police. They just
watched us and did not speak or approach anyone. The police at 1 were more
friendly and talked to folks, and even sat in the shade of the canopies.
Everyone at camp 1 felt bad that the Bush side had no shade, as even with a
canopy the heat was oppressive. At Casey 2, you were greeted by all and
welcomed and proceeded to an info tent where you could sign in and
volunteer to help. We staffed the info tent that evening with Gueneviere, a
slam poet who rocks. Her performance that night and Sunday was awesome, as
were all the performers. Surrouding the large tent were several small
canopies: medic, smokers, displays. I signed up for the medic tent and
there was an M.D. there and one other RN, they were supplied
well and had seen very few people, mostly heat related and minor bumps, and
scrapes. Inside the tent there was
a stage on one end with seating, a microphone, and lighting. There were
large tables and chairs throughout for seating and displays. Large banners
floated in the air: one had a painted picture of Casey Sheehan, slogans by
"Not in our Name", the families of military moms, IVAW, Code PINK, and
others rimmed the area. The back of the tent had a buffet set up with
delicious food, prepared on site in an outdoor kitchen complete with
refrigerator truck, two stoves and ovens, water, ice, the menu was 4 star!!
We hardly touched the food we had brought. We heard that Ben and Jerry's and restaurants from Austin were suppliers.Volunteers drifted in and out of the kitchen to chop veggies for salads, wash dishes,and help out under the
direction of the kitchen goddesses: Ann and Linda. Donations were accepted.
It was a blast.
Everyone came to do what they could to support Cindy and the mothers, This
was our Noble Cause. Entertainment was open mike, however this was not a
concert. Music came and went between heartfelt speeches of various subjects
concerning the war. One gentleman spoke eloquently of his anger at being
lied to and deceived, a young woman spoke about witnessing a Vietnam Vet
breakdown under post traumatic stress, a young Marine was present who spoke
many times throughout our stay and told first hand of his experiences with
the military mind, but how that becomes secondary to the bonds of love,
loyaly, and survival within an command. They got each others back, and that
becomes the focus. He called his buddies in Iraq while on stage, he was
funny, delightful , and I dare say dangerous as he has been trained. Once he
had his company on the line they wanted us to know that THEY knew we loved
them and were not disrespecting or lacking support of them. It was amazing
to have that relayed and brought comfort to both parties. We shouted a BIG
we love you to them, Yeah cell phones!!! The man who has been going around
the country setting up Arlington west was there and began forming the plots
for the crosses. He completed this rather quickly once the grid was laid out
and everyone helped. It greeted all who arrived, including anyone turning
into the Bush lane. At sunset on both days we were there, the same Marine
blew taps over these crosses. Red slant of sunset, White crosses attending,
Blue cloak of night, bright stars of hope, tears came. This marine is a tall
hunk warm and approachable. Hugging and friendly. We enjoyed his company
very much. A woman named Liz Carpenter, 85, who was the
first woman in the press corps, under Johnson spoke, and she said she has never
our country in worse shape. She has seen us go from war to war to war. Her
historical perspective was powerful., She was also very funny, everyone
interjected humor into their comments. An African - American from Germany
came to do a rap/hip-hop video to send to BET to get those folks involved,
he said that community is against the war. He performed on Sunday and ROCKED
the house, the secret service could hear his performance as we saw them
standing just beyond the tent.There was magic in the schedule of speakers
and performers. Ages ranged from a few small children to college students
from Cornell to octagenarians. There was hair and there was cowboy hats. One
lady I chopped vegies with said, " Boy, it wasn't like this in the
60's-catered demonstrations. I guess we have some income now and can spend
it on things that are important to us". The boomers are booming. The power
of presence and the offering of self can not be undervalued. The women who
started this became the care takers of "Downtown Ditch" so others could come
and stand and connect. They were working very, very, hard to keep it
together, as nobody knows how big it will get. Ann Wright, a friend of
Cindy's was hanging out with Cindy one day and Bush was on TV talking about
"the noble cause". Cindy was so mad she said she wanted to know just exactly
what that noble cause was. Cindy said Bush is just up the road on vacation
and I am going to go ask him just what is this"noble cause", who is going to
drive me??? Ann said she and her friends found thermselves raising their
hands to take her, so the 5 of them arrived and parked in the ditch and the
rest, is history. Ann Wright served in the Army for about 29 years and the
diplomatic corps for 16. She said she voted for Bush both times and resigned
her post when we invaded Iraq. She was/is a powerhouse.

Sunday proceeded with anyone speaking to the ever
growing crowd about who they were, why they were here, and how they felt. It was wonderful to talk to others who
shared like beliefs, of all ages and persuasions. The day ended with Joan
Baez. She was a powerful presence. When she first arrived in the afternoon,
she met with the mothers quietly. Her performances of Joe Hill, Diamonds and
Dust, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and a South American song in Espanol, was
beautiful. She plans to tour in September. We have hope that
the purity of the cause that mothers have, can be a catalyst to move our
nation to come together and stop this devastating war machine. But, just as the pieces everyone brought with them made an impact, so do the pieces we take away with us.
Everyone there is talking to someone about their experiences and that is
going out now, it will create a ripple, then a wave, and then a tsunami of
change. This group will travel the Northern,
Central, and Southern routes, coming near or through your town. Keep a
lookout for them. No Fear.