CRAWFORD, Texas – War protesters extended the olive branch to their new neighbors in President Bush’s adopted hometown by hosting a barbecue Saturday – and a few even showed up.
“You can have a dialogue, but you’ll never agree,” said Valerie Duty, a staunch Bush supporter who wore a “This is Bush country, by George!” T-shirt. “Both sides do agree about bringing the troops home safely. The difference is the way we go about that.”
Locals have been angry since a man bought five acres last month on behalf of peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who said no one in the area would have sold her any property.
Anti-war demonstrator Jim Goodnow said he was glad some area residents – roughly half a dozen – visited the new protest site.
“If we can get away from the name calling and see each other as Americans, that will be how we can heal this nation,” Goodnow said.
Sheehan first came to Crawford a year ago, refusing to leave until Bush talked to her about the war that claimed her soldier son Casey’s life in 2004. Her 26-day vigil during Bush’s August 2005 ranch vacation attracted more than 10,000 demonstrators.
On Saturday, a week into the group’s summer protest, nearly 150 people attended the barbecue under a large tent filled with banners that read “A mother’s loss, a nation’s pain.”
But Sheehan was absent. She was to spend a second night in a hospital in nearby Waco after a minor gynecological procedure and treatment for dehydration.
Sheehan was listed in stable condition Saturday at Providence Health Center in Waco. She said her spirits were lifted upon hearing news that those at the camp, even some locals who dropped by, signed a card for her.