Thursday, August 18, 2005

Let Your Light Shine

Last night the mainstream public joined the candle light gatherings across the California Central Coast.

San Luis Obispo
, Lompoc and Santa Barbara saw sizeable turnout in a show of support for Cindy Sheehan's vigil at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, Texas.

Mrs. Sheehan's encampment includes rows of white crosses to memorialize the war dead.

More than 500 people participated in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, according to the front page story in the SB News-Press. The crowd was described as "including octogenarians, grade-schoolers, World War II veterans, millionaires and musicians."

The mother of another slain US soldier has a different view of the more than 1800 white crosses at Arlington West, next to Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara. (photo by Ed Rincon)

Debbie Argel Bastian, the Lompoc mother of Capt. Derek Argel, wants her son's name plate removed from one of those crosses. Veterans for Peace, curators of the display, have said they will comply with her wishes.

Capt. Argel was killed Memorial Day in a plane crash during a training mission northwest of Baghdad.

By 7:30pm, more than 300 people were standing on the steps of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, candles in hand and love in their hearts.

One of the SLO Code Pink organizers said, "we saw more than the typical people you see from the 'peace community.' There were business people and many older people as well. We are also welcoming the return of Bill Mitchell who arrives tonight from Crawford."

Mitchell lives in Atascadero. His son, Sgt Mike Mitchell, was killed in the same battle in Sadr City, Iraq, that claimed the life of Spc. Casey Sheehan.

Candles were lit in Lompoc at Centennial Park where 30 supporters sipped coffee supplied by the Lompoc Peace and Justice Coalition and shared information with each other in the home town of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Only 38 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, according to the August 2005 Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

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