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Cindy Sheehan's grief is understandable, but she's being used
Cindy Sheehan's grief and loss are being exploited by the far-left

 Cindy Sheehan, whose son Army Specialist Casey Sheehan was killed in Iraq holds a vigil near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES
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Date published: 9/4/2005

GROVE CITY, Pa.--On July 6, 1992, Tory, my 14-year- old daughter died after a 10-year battle with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The grief one feels at the loss of a child is indescribable. The natural order is for children to bury their parents. Burying a child seems like a perversion of that order.

For at least a year I viewed the world through a prism of grief. While everyone grieves differently, it was just before the worst Christmas of my life that I began to realize my daughter was not at camp, not off at school and, above all, not coming back. For a couple of months in that winter of 1993, I ended each workday with a trip to the florist to buy a rose which I mournfully laid on my daughter's grave.

That winter our cat Barney, who had outlived our daughter by six years, finally succumbed to old age. Since Barney had always been "Tory's cat," I decided to bury him with her. My wife panicked as I headed for the car with a shovel in one hand and a dead cat in the other. Fortunately, she talked me out of that very bad idea one which, if it didn't land me in jail, would at least have made folks wonder about my sanity. And they would have wondered correctly, because I was crazy with grief.

Cindy Sheehan is filtering everything through a similar prism of grief. Like any grieving parent she deserves our understanding and sympathy. What she does not deserve is to be used by an anti-war movement that could not care less about her, the life of her son or the lives of American servicemen fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was in college during the anti-war movement of the 1960s. In 1968, I "came clean for Gene" when Sen. Eugene McCarthy ran in the Democratic primaries on an end-the-war-now platform. When McCarthy withdrew, I voted for Richard Nixon. What I wanted was to avoid serving in Vietnam. If bringing the boys home immediately was not an option (and, in retrospect it wasn't) then nuking the North was okay by me--and I figured Nixon might do just that.


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