Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cindy Sheehan meets "Win the War" supporters

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan in Charlottesville Friday.

CHARLOTTESVILLE--Cindy Sheehan's peace train pulled into Charlottesville, VA, on Friday to sell her brand of anti-war activism to the heartland of Virginia. While she had plenty of support from the anti-Bush, anti-war protesters, there was also a presence by "Win the War" Americans who supported the troops.

Close to 150 "Win the War" supporters showed up at the gathering, mingling in with the crowd of 200 anti-war protesters who stood on the downtown mall waiting to hear from anti-war speakers and the now famous Ms. Sheehan.

Josh Levy, 23-year-old UVA law student, organized the counter-rally by the war supporters, coordinating with Albemarle Republican Chairman Keith Drake to notify area Republicans about the event.

Levy stressed that though the Republicans helped recruit "Win the War" supporters, it was not a partisan event and all were invited including Democrats and Independents. Believing that the war cannot remain the policy of one party alone and still succeed, Levy emphasized "the overarching reasons for fighting and not retreating until Al Quaeda in Iraq is destroyed and a peaceful, decent society is established."

Chants of "Win the war" were heard throughout the event. Signs were held high and American flags could be seen in the crowd.

Bubba McDonald, a member of the Gathering of Eagles, a nationwide group that supports the troops, drove from Raleigh, NC, to participate. A tourist in town from Florida stood silently with the group to show her support.

A currently enlisted young man, deploying to Iraq in three weeks, stood with his girlfriend and observed. Surrounding him were veterans and mothers of Marines and soldiers who are serving at this time in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Anti-war signs urged impeachment of the President or "Support the troops -- Bring them home."

One little girl standing with her "Win the War" parents held a sign that said, "Al-Qaida thanks you."

A mom whose Army son has served three tours of duty in Iraq held a sign that said, "Three tour military mom." Another mom whose Marine son just deployed to Iraq for the second time held a "Win the War" sign while observing the crowd of dissidents.

Bloggers, part of the new media, were in attendance taking photos and notes, and follow-up stories have shown up and been linked to by nationwide blogs including Gathering of Eagles and Red State as well as local blogs.

Cindy Sheehan's remarks were brief as she stirred the anti-war protesters with demands to impeach President George W. Bush as well as Vice President Dick Cheney. She heckled a "Win the War" participant about being young enough to enlist instead of holding a sign in support. After completing her comments she left the stage.

Sheehan's tour was next going to Richmond and Arlington.
Photos by SWAC Girl

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