Sheehan Stops in Charlottesville

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart
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May 17, 2006

Last year Cindy Sheehan practically became a household name when she spent 26 days camped out in front of President Bush's Texas ranch.

Wednesday night the anti-war activist, who lost her son in Iraq nearly two years ago, was in Charlottesville.

Sheehan now travels the country, speaking out against the war, and the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice brought her to Charlottesville High School.

"We all have to get up and exercise our rights and our responsibilities as Americans to do what we can to make the world a better place," said Sheehan just before the program started on Wednesday night.

That has been her message since the beginning of her protest against the Iraq war. She said she was happy to be in our area.

"Number one because it's so supportive of what I do. And number two, just to energize the people to be active against the war," said Sheehan.

Inside the Center for the Performing Arts there were shirts, books, and anti-war buttons and stickers.

There was also another speaker, Ann Wright. Wright spent years in the military, then worked in the State Department until 2003, when she says she resigned because of the war.

"The level of violence increases rather than decreases," said Wright. "Our own soldiers are the targets of a lot of violence. They're the recipients of violence. And they are the promoters of violence."

Wright, like Sheehan, travels the country. They first met last year, and Wright says she was impressed by Sheehan.

"Everybody went, 'My God, this woman's going out in the hot Texas fields with rattle snakes and fire ants and she's going to sit there until the president comes and talks to her,'" recalls Wright. "And that stunned everyone."

While Iraq is still Sheehan's major focus, she says she worries about the growing tensions with Iran.

"George Bush is saying things like he's not ruling out using a nuclear weapon to stop the country of Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And I just believe [that] an attack on Iran would be devastating," said Sheehan.

Sheehan does have her critics. There are now actual protests against Sheehan herself. But she says that's not slowing her down. Thursday she is headed to Capitol Hill to speak out against the Bush administration's position on dealing with Iran. Sheehan says she does not want to see another situation like the current one in Iraq.

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