Deborah Johns, the Roseville, Calif., mother of a Marine serving in Iraq, and leader of Move America Forward’s “You Don’t Speak for Me, Cindy” Tour, did not get the personal meeting with fellow Californian Cindy Sheehan she sought, but she did find a raucous crowd of supporters for President Bush’s pursuit of victory in Iraq.
The “You Don’t Speak for Me, Cindy” Tour arrived 30 minutes late for the planned 1:00 p.m. rally at Crawford High School’s Pirate’s Field, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that had descended on the small community of 700 to voice their support for U.S. troops and opposition to the three-week-long anti-war protest led by Cindy Sheehan on the other side of town.
Yellow ribbons were tied around trees, telephone poles, and tent poles near the stadium as thousands arrived.
Johns’ group, estimated to be nearly 1,000 by San Francisco’s KGO radio, included several Gold Star families whose sons had been killed in Iraq. Her own son has served two tours in the country.
As reported by WorldNetDaily, Johns had called for Sheehan to meet with her in Crawford, one-on-one, and had prepared her questions in advance:
Before Johns arrived in Crawford, Sheehan indicated she would only meet with those who had lost a family member in the war.
“The majority – finally, someone is getting up to speak for the majority,” Johns told the rally during her opportunity to speak. “And we’re not going to be silent any longer.”
The crowd, often given to chants of “Cindy go home,” heard from those who had lost family members. One fireman, whose twin brother was killed in Iraq two weeks short of retirement, said “this is a war about good and evil, and we are winning it. My brother died for what he believed in.”
Deena Burnett, whose husband Tom was on the plane that crashed into a Pennsylvania field on 9-11, told the crowd, “We have a responsibility to our troops. Our nation stands divided. This war is not about us. We fight for those who can’t fight for themselves like my husband did. Our soldiers are doing what it takes to keep another Sept. 11 from happening anywhere in our world.”
Johns and several Gold Star families left the rally site, escorted by police officers, and made their way to Camp Casey, the location of the Sheehan’s anti-war demonstration. There she walked among the crosses set up by Sheehan’s supporters until she found one she was looking for. Johns then removed the man’s name from the cross, telling the sheriff’s lieutenant accompanying her she had been asked to do so by the soldier’s wife and mother in Benecia, Calif.
“It’s been so hard to see that when I know that their family would just be so hurt by this,” she said.