Saturday, September 03, 2005

Back at Camp Casey II

We shuttled to Camp II as the crowd began to build. There were various speakers that morning: Cindy, Ann, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Gold Star Families Speak Out, Joan Baez led us all in Amazing Grace and all of the other songs you’ve always wanted to sing with her.

“The night they drove ole’ Dixie down……”

Buses arrived every 20 minutes or so from Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth; Texas was standing up to end the war. Everywhere were heads bent over laptops, laughing faces, faces full of tears, shouts and hugs and warmth.

A woman from Dallas brought boxes and boxes- hundreds of umbrellas, which had been painted by Texas school children with symbols of peace. Kids aged four to twelve painted them- some were more abstract than others. They provided shelter from the blazing sun while waiting in line for a privy, or working traffic, or sitting amid the crosses. Mine was clearly painted by an older child. It is black and covered with faces and symbols and “peace” and “love”.

New friends were made, among them Sheila and Stephen, a young pair from Boston. Stephen had enlisted after 9/11, but by the time he was turning 18 it was clear he’d be going to Iraq, not Afghanistan.

Messing around in the driveway one day with his best friend, Sheila, he jumped onto the hood of her car. She accidentally pushed the car into gear, and it lurched forward, throwing him off and breaking his leg badly enough that he was allowed to void his contract. “She saved my life”, he said. She’s majoring in, I think, poli/sci with a minor in Arabic, and he’s pursuing another degree which I cannot remember but which should place him on the path to international diplomacy. When I said goodbye to them on Sunday I reminded them that we were counting on them to take over the world. They promised they would, and they’d keep in touch so I’d know where to find them.


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