Cindy, our hearts are with you in your concern for your mother, injured by the stroke that led you to abandon your vigil outside George Bush’s Crawford ranch yesterday and return to your home state of California.
We all have mothers who, if they are living, aren’t getting any younger, and we treasure them and worry about them. Many of us at the IWF are mothers, too, as are many of the readers of this blog, and we deeply emphathize with, although we can’t even begin to imagine, the grief that you felt when your dear, brave, patriotic 24-year-old son, Casey, died for his country last year. From every report, Casey Sheehan was a wonderful young man, and the hole that his death left in your heart will likely never be mended.
For the past year, and especially for the past few weeks, Cindy, you’ve let your grief, and your anger at heartless Fate, be used by America’s political left. At its bidding, you’ve said vile and vulgar things about our nation’s president and his own children, and you’ve dragged a nasty strain of anti-Semitism into your protest of the war in Iraq. You’ve called George W. Bush the “world’s biggest terrorist”–an insult to the victims of thousands of radical-Islamic murders around the world, in Jerusalem and Baghdad and Madrid and Amsterdam and London, but especially in our own U.S. cities of New York and Washington. But let me tell you something, Cindy–the left doesn’t care about you or your son. You’re a convenient cipher in a strategic campaign to mobilize grieving relatives of slain military personnel that has been going on for months, long before anybody ever heard of you or Casey. You’re being used, Cindy, and if you stay in California, the left will forget all about you and start looking for some other grieving but naive mom or dad to play mouthpiece for its resentment of Bush that was in place long before the invasion of Iraq and even the massacres of September 2001.
Now, something more important than a political protest needs you you, Cindy: your family, your mother. You’ve gone back home, and now that you’re there, you’ve got a chance to rebuild the relationships that became unraveled and even broken under the strain of your new alliance with the Michael Moores of this world. And now’s the chance, too, to pay your dead son the honor he deserves, by honoring and not denigrating the sacrifice he made for his country. You have a chance to take genuine pride in what he did, pride that can stand alongside your sorrow.
I hope that you will read this beautiful column about your son by David Gelernter in today’s Los Angeles Times:
“Casey Sheehan enlisted in the Army in 2000 at age 20. The country was at peace. When he was asked to reenlist four years later, he knew that he would probably be sent to Iraq. He reenlisted anyway. In March 2004, he was sent to Iraq as a mechanic attached to the artillery division of the 1st Cavalry Division. When a convoy was attacked in Sadr City a month later, he volunteered to join the rescue mission — although he had no obligation to take part in combat. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
“Did he intend to say, ‘I love my country?’ Or was he tricked into saying it? He volunteered to reenlist with the war underway — as an experienced young man, not a teenager. Then he volunteered again, for a dangerous mission above and beyond the call of duty. And one thing more, from his sister, Carly: ‘That’s all he wanted to do was serve God and his country his whole life.’ (He was a devout Roman Catholic.) What message emerges? What it sounds like to me is: ‘I devote my life lovingly to my country and my God.'”
Yes, that’s what Casey did, Cindy: honor his country and his God. You’ll always have that to remember. And remember, too, these words (quoted by Gerlernter) in the letter that President Lincoln wrote to Lydia Bixby, who had lost two sons in the Civil War:
“I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
So, Cindy, our hopes and prayers are with your mom and you. Please stay home.