By: E&P Staff
The Cindy Sheehan antiwar protest near the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, has been a national story for the past week. On Thursday, however, the story hit home in a big way, as hundreds of newspapers reported on local pro-Sheehan vigils held coast-to-coast.
The Associated Press estimated there were 1,600 such events and a Google News search produced hundreds of separate stories. Some vigils, such as one in Minneapolis, drew over 1,000 protestors.
The Denver Post covered outpourings in Denver, Golden, and Fort Collins. ?Area Residents Take Stand Against War,? read the Hartford (Conn.) Courant headline.
Veteran White House reporter Ed Chen of The Los Angeles Times took a street-side view, reporting on the protest of more than 500 outside the president’s residence in Washington, D.C.
Dana Milbank, another veteran White House reporter now writing a column for The Washington Post, also covered that gathering. Milbank interviewed a counter-demonstrator, Kevin Pannell, whose comrades were outnumbered 50-1. Part of the Army’s First Cavalry Division, he lost both calves in Iraq last year when his patrol was ambushed. He said was worried about Sheehan’s ability to spark an antiwar movement. “She’s stirred up a wasps’ nest,” he told Milbank. “It’s definitely getting bigger. They’re getting a little out of hand.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote: “They stood shoulder to shoulder, mothers all. One was the first in Georgia to lose her son to the ongoing violence in Iraq. Another worried daily that her active duty daughters could be sent to war any day. A third pleaded for an end to the fighting to spare more parents heartbreak.
“They were among more than 700 people who lined a busy Decatur intersection Wednesday night — some waving signs with the names of fallen soldiers, others holding aloft paper crosses identifying themselves as friends or neighbors of those who have died.”
The Cincinnati Post coverage began: ?Kay Allen had never attended an anti-war rally, had never even held a picket sign until Wednesday night on Fountain Square.?
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported: ?Nearly 100 people gathered in the back yard of a hilltop house in Kalihi Valley last night to light candles in sympathy for a California woman protesting her 24-year-old son’s death in Iraq. ‘She’s just a mother among other mothers,’ said Cecile Smith, 68, ‘but she’s a catalyst, it seems.’ It was one of nearly a dozen such gatherings across Hawaii.?
The enterprise of Brockton, Mass., reported: ?About 80 people lined the sidewalk in front of the CVS on busy Route 138 at dusk Wednesday, holding candles and carrying children to demonstrate their support for anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan.? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that there were ?dozens? of local vigils.
The vigils prompted a Miami Herald editorial, which opened: ?For once, President Bush should dismiss the counsel of his political advisors and listen to his heart. He should invite Cindy Sheehan into his home and privately discuss with her the death of her son. He should ask her to stay as long as she wishes.”
In an online chat Wednesday, Washington Post correspondent Jim VandeHei said, “The White House thinks this whole story is a silly obsession of bored reporters with nothing better to do during the slow August.”
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