In support of Cindy Sheehan, almost 400 people held candles and antiwar signs along a quarter mile stretch of Reston Parkway at Reston Town Center last Wednesday night.
Holding signs like “The war is a lie,” “War is not the answer,” and “Bring our children home,” participants in the candlelight vigil shouted and chanted in protest against the war.
The event was part of a countrywide effort to show support for Sheehan, mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq who has been protesting the war outside of President George W. Bush’s ranch in Texas this month.
Different groups of participants only took time from yelling to cheer when someone walked along the road introducing the event’s organizer, Jim Peters.
As part of the 1,600 similar candlelight vigils organized throughout the country through MoveOn.org, Peters arranged the vigil to give the people of Reston a chance to show their solidarity for Sheehan’s symbolic protest of the war in Iraq.
Lillian Christman of Reston was there to support the mothers who have lost children in the war, particularly Sheehan. “I think mothers’ voices are powerful and we don’t raise them enough to protect our children and give inspiration for world peace.” Adding that mothers have a unique view of war, Christman worries about her son, who turns 18 next month. “The government simply can’t have him,” she said.
ANOTHER MOTHER, Maureen Malloy-Clifford of Fairfax City said she went to the event as a gesture to support the troops and Sheehan. “I’m very sympathetic with [Sheehan],” she said. “My first son was in the Gulf War.”
Other people who came out to support Sheehan also used the event to protest the war. “I’m just very, very sad about the war and I have been since the beginning,” said Chris Meacham of Fairfax City. “The war is going to leave us worse off.”
As many participants that lined the streets, they were far outnumbered by the people driving by who laid on their car horns in a symbolic chorus of support.
Kerry Hannigan came all the way from Woodbridge to take part in the vigil. “We don’t want the children to die in Iraq,” she said. “We are here in support of the troops — we support them to come home alive and well and unharmed.” She also thinks Bush isn’t being held accountable for the war. “We want Bush to tell the truth about the war,” she said.
Several people said that they thought Bush had lied about reasons for going to war.
“Clinton was impeached for cheating on his wife, but Bush lied about this war and he’s not impeached,” said Hunter McCleary.
Hoping their effort might bring an end to the war, some baby-boomer supporters of Sheehan at the vigil likened the war in Iraq to Vietnam. “I saw the same thing happen in Vietnam in the early '70s,” said Peter Clifford. “The government lied and I spent two tours over there and realized afterwards we were there under false pretenses and didn’t accomplish a thing.”