When I got to Camp Casey (there is a gigantic sign now that says Camp Casey), I had to park even further away, about 300 yards past the port-a-pots (there are now four of them). The long line of crosses was back up (somebody mowed down about 500 of them in his pickup truck). And Jim, who has been here from the beginning, was laboriously trimming 35 dozen red roses and putting them in Aquafina bottles. Somebody from Florida had sent them and the plan was to place one by every cross until they ran out. PETA has come to show their support for free speech. They were grilling barbecued veggie ribs and offering them to everyone. Cindy looked much better today, she looked like she had a nights sleep. And Camp Casey looks better too. It’s much more organized. There are people with bull horns assigned to keep people out of the road. There is a media van. The sheriff’s department (in the person of the omnipresent Patrol Sergeant Kolinek) is always on site. He is frequently seen conferring with two buff guys, with tidy hair and Banlon shirts. I surmise they are Secret Service since they have wires in their ears. You know how the astronauts look in Apollo 13? That’s how they look.
The counter protest consisted of three people. At times during my visit it swelled to four. By the time I left it had stabilized at one.
Once more I walked across Prairie Chapel road to listen to the supporters of the war. It was a hundred degrees again, they had a lot to say again, and I unhappily augmented my farmers tan (again).
“She is using her son”, said Christie Carter. Christie had driven up from Fort Hood with her twin sister, Stephanie Sanders. They were two-thirds of the counter protest. I spent about an hour and a half talking with them before the media onslaught. I would give anything to have video of the media smack down between KEYE (KEYE always says they are from CBS, not Austin) and a lady doing a German documentary. She didn’t appreciate KEYE horning in on (her) territory. Bad words were exchanged.
They are lovely, adamant young women. Christie is a widow. Her husband Curtis Carter was a Calvary Scout 3rd Battalion, stationed at Fort Hood and originally from Lafayette, Indiana. He died in Kuwait, on February 27th, 2002. And I feel safe in saying, she feels…ahem…strongly about the war in Iraq. She thinks it is a noble cause and she thinks it is preserving our freedom. She thinks Cindy Sheehan should be ashamed of herself. She’s proud of her husband. “I’m sorry he didn’t get to go to Iraq, he would have loved it”, she said.
Christie is young and confident, she knows what she thinks. This doesn’t surprise me, everybody’s certain in Crawford. When the real media showed up, an interesting thing happened. As the KEYE guy offered his quiet sympathy for her sacrifice, she stopped saying that her husband died in Kuwait, before the war in Iraq began.
I get this completely. I don’t know how she feels; I imagine she feels really crappy. “He was happy to die for a cause, any cause”, she told me. I imagine everybody wants/needs/yearns to feel that the death of their husband, wife, daughter, son, or loved one has meaning. Cindy lost her son and she is now constantly accused of promoting her own “agenda” using Casey’s memory. Christie lost her husband; though I doubt anyone is accusing her of anything. Does everybody have an agenda? And if so, are all agendas equal? But what I really wonder is - who owns the memory of the dead?