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Crawford or bust, by plane or by bus

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As media stirs and attention builds in the small Texas town of Crawford, more and more San Luis Obispoans are packing their sunscreen, candles, and bug spray and heading out to George Bush's rural ranch to stand in vigil with Cindy Sheehan.

The mother of Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed last year in Iraq, Cindy has been camped in front of the president's home for close to three weeks now - begging for an audience with the commander in chief and seeking some explanation for a war she considers unjust.

A local chapter of Code Pink, a woman-initiated grassroots peace organization formed in 2002, has organized a trip to Texas leaving this Friday night and flying into Austin early Saturday morning. Vivian Longacre and Diane Sousa, co-founders of Code Pink in San Luis Obispo, will make that journey with three other activists from this area.

Longacre is the mother of two children, 6 and 13, and Sousa also has two children, ages 13 and 16. After hearing the Pentagon's latest plans to remain in Iraq for another four years, both mothers felt a deep responsibility to speak out against the war and show their support for Sheehan.

"We're concerned for our kids and all the children," said Longacre, who expects to spend about 36 hours at Camp Casey before flying home to the Central Coast.

Bill Mitchell, Atascadero father of a fallen soldier, made news recently when he traveled to Camp Casey to protest in memory of his son. Mitchell has come home briefly, just long enough to arrange another trip - this time with a busload of anti-war activists.

Mitchell's charter bus left San Luis Obispo early Wednesday morning, Aug. 24, with two to three additional pickups scheduled in the L.A. area, and plans to arrive in Crawford sometime Thursday afternoon. Mitchell's crew will remain in Camp Casey until next Wednesday. At that time, the bus will return to SLO, and Mitchell will continue east to Washington, D.C. with Sheehan. 

-J.H.

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