They were two soldiers who met and became friends, traveled to Iraq to fight together, and died just days apart. They rest now in hometown graves, having paid the ultimate price in this war on terror.

But while the members of one family drew together and continued their son’s fight for freedom from terrorism, the other mother, Cindy Sheehan, exploded into anti-U.S. activism, described her own nation as “thugs” and allowed her personal life to fall to pieces, according to a new book, “American Mourning.”

She’s spoken to everyone she can about how she blames President Bush for the terrorists who killed her son, protests outside Bush’s ranch in Texas, has been funded by the anti-Bush John Kerry and George Soros interests, had an affair with former right-wing politico Lew Rockwell as her marriage disintegrated, and thought of killing herself after her son died.

She was praised by former KKK leader David Duke and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and she attended the Sixth World Social Forum in Caracas. She also appeared at an event with a spokesman for al Sadr, the radical Muslim whose troops had killed Casey, the book documents.

The two heroes are Justin Johnson and Casey Sheehan, and their stories are told in the book by authors Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy, the newest in the store.

It tells the story of the tragic loss of the two young soldiers in Iraq and how their families’ reactions are poles apart, just as the American nation is split over the value of taking out terrorists overseas instead of in our backyards.

“Cindy chose to politicize the most personal aspect of her life. She made it a campaign issue. She used Casey?s death as a weapon against our president and our troops. We told the rest of the story . . . the truth about Cindy and her hero son,” the authors said in an interview.

“Casey was gentle but strong. He stuck to his beliefs and was steadfast in his convictions, whether they dealt with the Catholic Church, the love of his family and country, or helping others who were in need or in trouble,” the authors write. “His sister Carly is proud of her brother and understands how Casey could join the military. ‘That’s all he wanted to do was serve God and his country his whole life,’ she said.”

He died first, ambushed by those terrorists, near Sadr City, while trying to help other soldiers who had been pinned down by an ambush.

“After returning from Palm Sunday Mass, where he was an altar server, Casey learned about the ambush: the killers on rooftops, the smoky killing zone. He volunteered to go. His sergeant asked him more than once, telling him that a mechanic did not have to put himself in this deadly situation. As was his nature, Casey stood firm. He would help?”

“Casey’s group didn’t have a chance. They were cornered. Ambushed.”

Justin then used some of his precious time on computers to write the Sheehan family on a website honoring fallen soldiers. “Casey was a great friend of mine and is missed by us. All I wanted to say he is in my heart all the time.”

Within days Justin and his crew were back in combat.

“Darkness settled in around him and the others as they moved toward the gauntlet of death where Casey Sheehan had died six days earlier. The smell of death seized the air around them, but there was no flinching now. Justin manned his high-powered gun ? Then a deep thump shook them like King Kong rattling a hamster cage? Justin was declared dead at 11:45 p.m., Iraqi time.”

Both soldiers fell as heroes in the war on terrorism, but the divergence is startling in their families. The Sheehan family disintegrated as Cindy took support from Kerry to keep attacking Bush while the Johnson family became closer to each other, Sheehan makes money off her war speeches while the Johnsons speak out but refuse money, Cindy Sheehan has talked to anyone and everyone about her outrage while Justin’s father took himself off to Iraq to continue his son’s battle with terror.

Then too, Cindy Sheehan camps on the fringes of Bush’s Texas property to berate him, socializes with Chavez and reportedly developed an addiction to pornography, while Justin’s father, Joe, slogged through open sewers in Sadr City to fight the fight his son had begun. “If somebody killed your son and you had a chance to kill that person, wouldn’t you?” he states.

“‘American Mourning’ is the story of the anguish that overwhelmed two American families and divided a nation as the families’ dramatically different responses to their grief shocked the country. ‘American Mourning’ describes not only the loss of two young men, but also exposes the drama, corruption, and sadness during their loved ones’ journeys of mourning,” according to its publicity.

Sheehan was connected to Kerry, linked up with the George Soros-funded and called her own government “murderous thugs.” But while that happening, Joe Johnson had his chance for revenge against those who killed Justin.

He was in on the capture of four men in Iraq who tested positive for explosives.

“I should blow your f_____ heads off right here,” he shouted. “You are nothing but scum. You don’t deserve to live!”

“Other soldiers watched. They knew why. Then he changed.”

“He stepped away ? Joe came to grips with the fact that he didn’t kill when he had the chance ? But that’s okay. He went to battle for his country. And Justin.”

Morgan co-hosts a top-rated drive-time show with Lee Rodgers on KSFO 560AM in San Francisco, is chairman of Move America Forward in support of U.S. troops and has 30 years journalism experience.

She’s a weekly columnist for, has won The Associated Press Mark Twain Award for Best Special Program “Voices of Solders” Live from Iraq, 2005 and covered the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

She also was on the scene for the uprising for Democracy at Tiananmen Square in China and the earthquake that hit Mexico City in 1988. She appears regularly on Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS.

Moy is a Pulitzer Prize nominee, award-winning journalist and columnist for the Vacaville Reporter, Cindy Sheehan’s former hometown newspaper. She’s won the Society of Professional Journalists’ highest award for public service.

Her 20 years of investigative work has led to chances in federal laws that help protect the elderly from abuse, and she was one of the first to begin raising writing about the impacts of illegal immigration.

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“American Mourning” now.

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