Monday, August 22, 2005
THE MUSIC INSIDE US AT CAMP CASEY
Camp Casey II, Crawford Texas
Saturday, August 20, 2005
The crowd drifted slowly out as evening fell, emerging from under the huge pavilion tent, and its steep. canvas spires. The dark indigo of night seemed to flatten down strands of pink against the horizon. The playing of taps had been announced, and the crowd anticipating it was quiet. Through the afternoon, others had been bending down, fitting white crosses, 200 of which filled an apron of pasture between the tent and the road.
The people, the whole congregation standing there, would not have been waiting as they were, without the initiative of one woman, Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, 15 months ago. This mother touched the conscience of the nation, starting a couple of weeks ago, as she reminded Americans of the lies told by President Bush, which led to war. She began by camping out along the edge of a narrow road, near the President's ranch. But Cindy's cause is the cause of many mothers who are camped out there.--even if Cindy herself has had to abandon her spot temporarily, owing to the serious illness of her mother.
But as night gathered at Camp Casey II, what was best expressed, was the solidarity of people's eyes, as they searched around the margin of those white crosses, for the trumpeter who would sound taps--a man whose silence lingered, as his name was called. The man paused to hear the notes sound in his head, waiting for the music to come into him. The spirit that Cindy Sheehan had personified was something real to those who patiently stood there. Gold Star mothers were present, whose sons or daughters had been killed in Bush's war.
A 71 year old black woman from New York heard the echo of taps fade; and she received encouragement from a kind hand on her shoulder. She struggled with the words of a hymn, but began to sing; and it must have been that she was weeping over a grandchild. Faltering for a moment, she finished the last refrain; and at the end her voice was strong, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me".
The crowd returned to the tent for music and supportive speeches; but that timeless moment, under the relentless indigo of dusk would persist inside them. Speakers would remind them that this anti-war movement has truly begun. But reflecting on what they had just witnessed, they seemed to know already that this is its real beginning.