Bombs Bursting in Air

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The rockets
red glare,
bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there.

Oh, say
does that
Star spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free,
And the home of the brave.

The star-spangled
banner has been in the news quite a lot lately. Some “courageous”
Senators, including one of my own, Dianne Feinstein, and everyone’s
favorite left-wing liberal, Hillary Clinton, bravely stuck their
necks out to support an amendment that would make it illegal to
burn the flag of the USA under certain circumstances.

Heaven forbid
one of these pusillanimous public servants introduce, or even support
a bill, that would call for an immediate end to the occupation of
Iraq…or to even require that the President set a timeline for the
withdrawal of our troops from a deadly quagmire of an occupation
while they are handing him more money to wage the war crime in Iraq.
As our nation’s children are trying to only survive in the worst
of circumstances, and by surviving are committing reprehensible
atrocities on an innocent population which (especially in Ramadi
right now) is having bombs burst in air all around them, that our
Senate would even consider taking away first amendment rights from
Americans is wretchedly ironic. Call me nave, but I always thought
that we elected our representatives to protect our rights, not take
them away from us.

When I look
at the star-spangled banner I think of my son who began wearing
a uniform with the flag on it from the time he went into scouting
at the age of 6. I also think of one of the last pictures taken
of Casey when he was awaiting deployment to Iraq from Kuwait. He
was standing in a tent holding a bottle of water, wearing his desert
cammies with an American flag patch on the chest. When we buried
him a few weeks after that picture was taken, I was handed a folded
flag which reminded me of the swaddling blanket that I wrapped him
in to bring him home from the hospital almost 25 years before.

The star-spangled
banner, which I can now see whipping in the wind outside of an airport
terminal where I am writing this from does not fill me with pride:
it fills me with shame and that flag symbolizes sorrow and corruption
to me right now. The flag represents so much lying, fixed elections,
profiting by the war machine, high gas prices, spying on Americans,
rapid erosion of our freedoms while BushCo literally gets away with
murder, torture and extreme rendition, contaminating the world with
depleted uranium, and illegal and immoral wars that are responsible
for killing so many. A symbol which used to represent hope to so
many around the world now fills so many with disgust.

When I look
at that rectangular piece of cloth that has red and white stripes
and white stars on a blue field, I wonder what the Iraqi people
think when they see American tanks and other vehicles rumbling through
their streets carrying doom with that symbol emblazoned upon them.
Or, what could our flag possibly represent to them when their
women are being raped and burned to conceal crimes
and entire
families are being killed by soldiers whose uniforms carry that
symbol? I am sure that the flag symbolizes death and destruction
to them which I hope they are not confusing with freedom and democracy.

I often get
told that I should “love America, or leave it.” This is ridiculous
logic and empty rhetoric. I love the country that I was born in
and I love Americans…I am an American and so are my children. Casey
was born and died a fine American who was abused by the same leaders
that are abusing the world as I type. I could leave if I wanted
to and, in fact, have received many offers to be an ex-patriate
in many friendly countries. However, I want to stay and fight for
my country. I want my country and the flag that symbolizes it around
the globe to stand for something that we can all be proud of again.

BushCo and
the neocon regime embarked on this disastrous misadventure in Iraq
to prove to the world how strong and virile Pax Americana is. Their
abjectly failed mission, which was evil and corrupt from the beginning,
has not proven how strong our nation is, but, on the contrary, how
weak. However, the neocons have managed to prove, that how, with
the “mightiest” war machine in the world an insurgency in a country
smaller than the state of California can hold their false freedom
and deadly democracy at bay. One other thing that the neocons have
proven is that America is no longer the moral touchstone of the
world but is a nation that commits torture and crimes against humanity
with the presidential seal of approval. BushCo has destroyed any
credibility our nation ever had in the world and all of us need
to fight to regain it and thereby redeem our own souls.

I implore you,
while you are enjoying your potato salad and fireworks on the 4th
to reflect on what the star-spangled banner means to you. If our
flag symbolizes the same thing to you as it does to the neocons,
then by all means, enlist and go to Iraq to let some of our soldiers
come home that are tired of suffering and committing war crimes
for Halliburton, Dick and Donny.

If, however,
you realize that the flag no longer waves “o’er the land of the
free” and you would like it to again, we invite you to come out
to Camp Casey this summer and help us fight for the heart and soul
of our nation. If you realize that while you are “oohing and ahing”
over the pretty fireworks in your home town that there are real
bombs bursting on the people of Iraq, killing them and destroying
their nation for no reason other than Dick Cheney wanted to, then
you need to digest your 4th of July BBQ and get out and show Dicky
and the world that we mean business when we say we want our troops
to come home – to save them and our brothers and sisters in

Thousands of
peace-loving and war-hating members of the human race from all over
the world are planning to come to Crawford, Texas to Camp
again this summer to stand, sit, or camp in the face of
the neocon war machine and prove to the world that there are Americans
who will courageously speak for the people of Iraq and our soldiers
who have no voices but who just want to be left in peace.

Come to Camp

We have room
for everyone and everyone is welcome.

4, 2006

Sheehan is the mother of Spc.
Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04
She is co-founder of Gold
Star Families for Peace
. She is the author of Not
One More Mother’s Child
and Dear
President Bush

Sheehan Archives

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