As you arrive into this sleepy little town you are greeted by a huge billboard welcoming you to Crawford The home of George and Laura Bush with their faces smiling at you. What a creepy feeling that was.Take a right on 5th, cross the railroad tracks and on the left you are greeted by The Peace House. I parked the car in a dusty little lot. As Scott and I approached the Peace House a feeling of peace fell upon me. All the posters, signs, flags.I knew instantly I was suppose to be here.

 We were greeted immediatly by friendly folks with hugs, signed the guest book and were directed to the backyard for food where we found Tim with other Iraq vets. I left Scott with them while I roamed around the House, bought a tshirt to support Cindy that says What Noble Cause Mr. President, a couple of buttons and a bumper sticker that says No more lies. No more lives.
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I asked a volunteer about camping at Camp Casey II and was told it was full but I could still camp at Camp I. I received directions and went to tell Scott I wanted to get out there before dark. When I told him Camp II was no longer accepting folks Tim told him they had a place for him there with the other vets. I was going to hit the road and Scott insisted on coming out there with me. He wanted to help me get set up and see the original camp. Gives one an indication what a great guy I was traveling with.

We got directions, one right turn and go about ten miles and you are there. We misheard and took a few wrong turns and saw more Texas countryside than I ever want to see again. Along the way in yards were signs like “My son is a policeman and I support our troops and President Bush”. As if one justifies the other?

We finally found our way and the first thing I spotted were the long line of crosses and Cindy’s original tent and awning with pictures of dead soldiers and flowers and a sign that read “We will hold you accountable”. I drove slowly past and just felt so sad. We had to turn around to go along the side road where hundreds of cars and tents were set up in the ditch. At the entrance there were food booths, first aid tent, different organizations had tents and all these people milling around and holding signs.

Across the street, the ProWar counter protesters sat. Not many that first night but really creepy. Signs reading Go Home Cindy/Bitch in the Ditch and The 60s are over- why are you still hear? I just thought oh brother.

We found a little spot, got the tent set up. Cat had given me an air mattress but nothing to pump it up with. Four nice men around my age had just pulled in from Nashville and they had a pump that blew it up in two minutes. My back was saved!

Tim and his fellow vets showed up to take Scott back to Camp II. I hated to see him go but we hugged good bye and promised to find each other at the rally. I wandered down the road where the main protesting was going on. There was a group of 70ish gentlemen sitting in chairs with signs and I was instantly offered a chair. They were all Korean and Vietnam vets and man do they hate Bush. I really enjoyed my time with them. I felt so connected and so safe there. I mean, here I was, a 53 year old Gramma in the middle of a prairie in Texas and I didn’t know a soul. I never once felt alone.

There was so much food and water and Gatoraide. Thank the Universe it wasn’t Koolaide or I would have run for the car. A young man came by with a guitar and sang for us a bit. He got a few in the crowd dancing. Shuttles kept arriving with more people. The fellows from Nashville said hey Lee we are going over to camp II you want to go? I hopped on the shuttle with them and off we went. The driver Rich and I started talking and he lives about twenty minutes from me. He is very involved locally and we exchanged emails and phone numbers.

Arriving at Camp II was breath taking.The huge tent, the Arlington West crosses set up, some with the real boots of fallen soldiers. Inside the tent they were showing three screens of video with narration and a timeline on one of the screens with the lies and the lead up to war and the lies and the no wmds and the names of Iraqi children killed and it was all too much, too raw, too much horror to grasp. Now, I felt sad again. Rich was suppose to go back to Peace House when he dropped us off so he could call it a night but he stayed as long as we wanted to take us back. It was midnight. I felt so exhausted. Have I mentioned how GD hot it was there yet?

Back at camp I said good night to my new friends and hit the air mattress. Not much sleep that first night. My mind was spinning with all that had happened that first day. People continued to arrive all during the night to find their little piece of the ditch. The coyotes, so many of them, sang me a chorus of howls and then I finally fell asleep.

Tommorrow Part III/ The Rally

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