October 18, 2006
One of the main differences between George Allen and Jim Webb is their stances on the War in Iraq. It is a war that touched Rhonda Winfield, mother of four, in the hardest possible way. Now she is using the campaign trail to tell her story.
"I absolutely believe the person that I was died right there in that spot at that moment," Winfield said.
Winfield lost her son, Jason Redifer, in Iraq in 2005. The 19-year-old Marine from Stuarts Draft was killed when the Humvee he was traveling in hit a roadside bomb just 9 days before he was set to come home. Winfield remembers that January day when Marines met her at her door.
"The words were unnecessary. I absolutely felt like a cannonball fired right into my very center," she said.
Since then, Rhonda has been dealing with Jason's loss in any way possible including campaigning for Senator George Allen. Unlike many anti-war activists like Cindy Sheehan, Winfield says Allen's stance on the war has given her a chance to continue her son's legacy.
"I think it would be a huge disservice to Jason even if I didn't believe in what he stood for or what he was fighting for. The fact that he believed in it enough to die for it, I owe him that," she said.
While Winfield supports Allen's efforts in the campaign, she said whomever wins this race should commit to a policy in Iraq that will finish the job, thus honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"They owe it to every one of those men and women and they owe it to their families to finish this job and to make sure that they didn't [die] in vain," she said.
Winfield also has an older son that is an Army Reservist and can be called to duty at any time. If he is called, she said he is willing to serve his country and lay his life on the line just like his younger brother.
Along with campaigning, Rhonda Winfield has also written a book titled "When Johnny Doesn't Come Marching Home."