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Cindy Sheehan: And So This Is Christmas

And So This Is Christmas

By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor

Monday 25 December 2006

And so this is Christmas,
And what have you done?
Another year over,
A new one just begun.

- John Lennon

Today is the 21st birthday of my youngest child, Janey. It is the third birthday that she has "celebrated" since her oldest sibling, Casey, was killed in Iraq. My other son, Andy, turned 21 the year Casey was killed. Carly, my oldest daughter, turned 24 the year after Casey was killed ... the same age he was when BushCo sent him to die in their oil war for profit. In the one letter that Casey was writing three days before he was killed in the ambush that took the lives of six other soldiers, he expressed regret that he wouldn't be home for Janey's high school graduation that June. Little did we know that he would be home, buried in his "final resting place," forever.

Christmas 2006 will be the third Christmas that our family has endured since the death of Casey. The holiday season is hard for so many people as evidenced by the skyrocketing number of suicides and suicide attempts. Many people feel lonely and separated from joyous events, and the orgy of consumerism that now is the "reason for the season." Especially since Christmas 2003 was the last time we saw Casey alive, this season is so difficult for our family. Imagine getting out the boxes of Christmas decorations and pulling out your dead child's stocking or "Baby's First Christmas, 1979" ornament. Well, the Sheehan family and almost 3,000 other American families don't have to imagine the pain - we deal with the trauma 24/7; Christmas, birthdays, graduations, weddings, births, anniversaries, will never, ever, be the same for us again.

2006 was a year of ups and downs for our family and for the nation. Despite the facts, the criminal and corrupt occupation of Iraq continues unabated, and in fact - worsens on an hourly basis. Body bags are coming home from the Middle East in the dark of night at a steady clip, and our troops are being grievously wounded for no other reason than to reward the CEOs of the war profiteers with phenomenal holiday bonuses. Our children are being sacrificed like Christmas turkeys so the turkeys in the White House can strut around and posture like dictators of banana republics.

With the transfer of power in the legislative branch of Congress, our nation has a unique opportunity for true change in 2007. But with the Democratic leadership cozying up to the killers who have led our country down a path of destruction in the name of "bipartisanship" - which in this case can only be truthfully called criminal collusion - we have little hope of the change that we the people voted overwhelmingly for this past November.

The best holiday presents for my family, our nation and the world, would be for the troops to speedily and safely exit from Iraq and for BushCo to be held accountable for their crimes against our Constitution and humanity. These gifts, however, will not be realized unless the grassroots community who put the Democrats back in power redouble our efforts for peace and accountability.

A very Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year,
Let's hope it's a good one,
Without any fear.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." An out-of-control Executive Branch, threatening to send more troops to Iraq and another battleship group to the Persian Gulf - to intimidate Iran and perhaps incite an attack from that country that would justify another war - is not the only thing the world has to fear. I am also afraid that the recent electoral victory of the Democratic Party will lead to complacency in the grassroots movement. May I remind everyone that the Democrats have started more wars in the last century than the Republicans - and all war is wrong, no matter what political party or which politician starts it. We have to do more than "hope" for a good 2007. We have to stay vigilant and motivated, and constantly remind our employees in DC who they work for and what we expect from them. The Democrats cannot be afraid to end the monstrosity that BushCo has perpetrated on the world. Our nation and the nation of Iraq demand heroes.

We have to be the ones who give our leaders the courage to do the right thing.

War is over, if you want it,
War is over, if you want it.
War is over, war is over,
If YOU work for peace.

Join Gold Star Families for Peace and a coalition of Peace and Justice Groups in our Walk for Change when Congress reconvenes on the 3rd and 4th of January.

Support peace groups who are on the frontlines struggling against the war machine.

In Search of Peace is a series of reflections on Cindy's journey toward peace.


Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Bush's war of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and the Camp Casey Peace Institute. She is the author of three books; the most recent is Peace Mom: A Mother's Journey Through Heartache to Activism

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