View Full Version : Bush Supporters, Opponents Gather In Texas

11-26-2005, 05:01 PM
Bush Supporters, Opponents Gather in Texas


By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer 31 minutes ago

CRAWFORD, Texas - Three months after the mother of a fallen soldier led a 26-day anti-war vigil near President Bush's ranch, peace activists and Bush supporters converged again Saturday for dueling rallies that drew much smaller crowds.

Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old Casey died in Iraq, called for anti-war activists to return to Crawford this week as Bush celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday.

Fewer than 100 war protesters gathered at the same 1-acre private lot that a landowner let them use in August when Sheehan's original campsite became too crowded.

The first demonstration attracted thousands from around the country and made the woman from Berkeley, Calif., a national figure.

"Nobody knew what was going to happen, and we made up Camp Casey as we went along, and it grew and grew and grew," said Sheehan. "But we're here to say that the killing has to stop, that we're not going to justify any more killing on our losses. And we're not going away."

Meanwhile, father Gary Qualls, who lost his Marine son Louis in Iraq last year, was among about a dozen of Bush supporters who gathered in downtown Crawford on a rainy, cool morning to counter anti-war demonstrators with their own rally. Qualls, who also led a pro-Bush rally in August, said the war opponents are disrespectful to soldiers and hurtful to troop morale.

"They have no right to drag their names through the dirt," Qualls said.

On Friday, activists unveiled a stone monument bearing the words "Sheehan's Stand." The names of two dozen soldiers whose families were part of the vigil are engraved on the back. The monument stands at the Crawford Peace House, which opened downtown a month after the war began in March 2003.