Left Justified: Summer vacation story

Here I am on my summer vacation, standing in front of the White House in Washington D.C.

I’m here with 500 other protesters. We are vigiling for Cindy Shaheen, a mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. She is vigiling in front of President George W. Bush’s summer vacation home in Crawford Texas (man, that has to be hot, in more ways than sweat). Cindy wants to meet with George. He dosn’t want to meet with her, and I don’t blame him. I’m sure she will tell him to stop killing our soldiers in this fruitless war.

So a number of these vigilers have never been to a demonstration before. Almost all of the 500 are on Cindy’s side. There are 10 pro-Bush demonstrators, but you have to look real close to spot them, as everyone has American flags. Their signs, though, say “Support the Troops and the Mission” instead of just “Support the Troops—Bring them Home.” I guess the mission is to remain in Iraq until…. I don’t know, democracy arrives? All the oil is gone? Maybe until we invade Iran!

Washington, D.C. has been rather warm and sweltering. Kinda like an outdoor sauna. I am enjoying going to the various peace offices, church mission groups, and then a national monument or museum. The Native American Indian Museum is beautiful. Limestone facade reminisent of Illinois. Which makes me homesick.

I admit it! I wish I was home. I wish I had organized a “support Cindy” vigil in Rockford. Folks had asked “where’s the vigil?” but I was already packed and on my way to the Greater Rockford Airport, where I boarded a Northwest Airlines flight (I haven’t received my promised coupon yet), and now I am hoping that the mechanics come to some agreement with Northwest so I may come home.

With its smugness and prejudices and lovely river running through its dilapidated downtown, Rockford is still made up of gifted people, warm friends, and some committed individuals. I miss you, even while on vacation.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the Aug. 24-30, 2005, issue

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