Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Facts On Casey Sheehen

Cindy Sheehan, the so-called Peace Mom seeking a second meeting with President Bush in connection with the Iraq War death of her son, says terrorists killing Americans are "freedom fighters."

She made the remark during her trek earlier this month to Crawford, Texas; but her equating the enemy with freedom fighters has not been highlighted by the mainstream media, despite her telling it directly to a reporter for CBS News.

How can she say that the person(s) that fired a bullet into the body of her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, is a "freedom fighter"? Wasn't it, in fact, her son that, through his selfless service in helping liberate Iraq from the grips of tyrant Saddam Hussein, is the real freedom fighter?

Casey Sheehan's deeds were heroic. By laying down his life for this nation, he delivered the kind of message that is written in blood, that lives forever. Why on Earth would a loving mother choose to refocus the nation's attention onto her words and away from his deeds?

Listen to this from Angela Sheehan-Caspary of Corona, CA:
Hello Casey. I know you are not here with us now but I want to tell you some things I did not get a chance to when you were here. This is your auntie Angela. I miss all the times we spent chatting online. Looking at my computer brings back memories of you, My buddy list still holds your name. I will keep it there forever. I regret all the things that you will miss in your life having died at such a young age. You were always such a perfect person to me. You inspire the masses from where you are now. I am a better person because of you and what you stood for. I pray that you will help me with my feelings of anger of your death. I am profoundly proud of you. Your life had purpose. God chose you Casey, to be an example to all of his people. I will continue to pray for you and your dad and mom and Carly, Andy and Jane. They miss you so much. I worry especially about your mom. Send her a message that you are near to her. My HERO, my nephew, I love you. I will see you in heaven.
And what was Casey Sheehan's message? It had nothing to do with President Bush. It didn't even have to do with the war, necessarily. It said something much simpler: "I love my country."

Listen to this from Chanel Caspary of Corona, CA:
This is Chanel Caspary.I am 10. Casey was my cousin. He gave me a Harry Potter Three Headded Dog that is named Fluffy. It is my favorite thing. I liked to chat online with him when he was in the Army. I visited him at the Army base. His troop painted a rock and it was cool. When we hiked to see it he was my protector. I felt safe when he was by me. HE wished he could have a dog when he was on the Army base but they said there could not be any four legged animals there. I told him that he should get a duck because they have two legs. He did not make it back to get a dog or a duck. My mom said we could get a dog and name it Casey for CASEY, and that is what we did. A little black Lab named Casey now lives in our house with us and is a part of our family. I am proud of Casey and I think he is the bravest person in the world. I say goodnight to you everynight when I say my bedtime prayers. I miss you and I love you and I can't wait to see you in heaven.
Casey Sheehan grew up in a devout Catholic home. He served as an altar boy and then as a key member of his church's youth group for years.

When he was old enough, Casey joined the Boy Scouts, becoming the very second Eagle Scout out of his troop.

Casey Sheehan died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He died on April 4, 2004.

On April 4th, 2004, al'Sadr's Mahdi forces blocked roadways and bridges with burning tires, vehicles and trash. Visibility was less than 300 meters anywhere in the city. They began to attack American vehicles on patrol throughout Sadr City - some were protecting Shia worshipers (Holy Arbayeen) while others were escorting city government vehicles.

A battle raged across Sadr City. Insurgents assaulted American troops while looters and mobs formed and stormed through the streets. Word spread quickly across the American FOBs that there was trouble.

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying. While fighting off an attack himself, the Commander of the 2/5th, LTC Volesky, called for help. A Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was formed of volunteers - their mission was to go out and rescue the American troops.

Casey Sheehan's Sergeant asked for volunteers. Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports (and according to his own mother), Casey responded, "Where my Chief goes, I go."

The QRF was launched. Not long after entering the Mahdi area, the QRF was channeled onto a dead-end street where the roofs were lined with snipers, RPGs, and even some militia throwing burning tires onto the vehicles. The Mahdi blocked the exit and let loose with everything they had.

Sheehan's vehicle was hit with multiple RPGs and automatic-weapons fire.

Specialist Casey Sheehan and Corporal Forest J. Jostes were killed.
He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die That freedom may live, and grow, and increase it's blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives -- in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men. - Franklin D. Roosevelt
The real story is brief enough. Casey Sheehan enlisted in the Army in 2000 at age 20. The country was at peace. When he was asked to reenlist four years later, he knew that he would probably be sent to Iraq. He reenlisted anyway. In March 2004, he was sent to Iraq as a mechanic attached to the artillery division of the 1st Cavalry Division. When a convoy was attacked in Sadr City a month later, he volunteered to join the rescue mission — although he had no obligation to take part in combat. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Did he intend to say, "I love my country?" Or was he tricked into saying it? He volunteered to reenlist with the war underway — as an experienced young man, not a teenager. Then he volunteered again, for a dangerous mission above and beyond the call of duty. He was also a devout Roman Catholic. So therefore what message emerges? What it sounds like to me is: "I devote my life lovingly to my country and my God."
I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. - President Abraham Lincoln in his famous letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, who lost two sons in the Civil War
Casey, I thank you for dying for freedom. You are not the first, nor will you be the last to shed his blood for freedom, God bless you and yours. If this country stands to be free, then brave men like you must stand for it. You served honorably, you lived honorably. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten, nor allowed to have been made in vain.
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived. - General George Patton
My son came home from Afghanistan. My son came home alive. My son came home in one piece, no visible scars. My son came home after surviving the outbreak of violence in Jalalabad due to the unfounded Newsweek article about flushing the Quran down a toilet. My son served his time. My son did not have to go to Iraq. My son would have gone to Iraq if that is where this nation sent him. My son and the rest of our family can not believe the grace under which he traveled. We grieve for the war dead. We grieve for the families left to cope with the heartbreak. We shared the anguish of waiting for that satellite phone call, the message written, the request for items to help the soldier feel connected to home. We have nothing but good wishes for all the Military families who have lost their children, siblings, parents and relatives. In some small way we are ashamed to bask too long in our good fortune in having our son back in our home.

Some people are called to medicine; others are called to the priesthood. Still others, like Casey Sheehan, are called to put on a uniform, pick up a gun, and defend their country in times of war.
There is joy in fulfilling a calling that fits who we are and, like the pillar of cloud and fire, goes ahead of our lives to lead us ... Our gifts and destiny do not lie expressly in our parents' wishes, our boss's plans, our peer group's pressures, our generation's prospects, or our society's demands. Rather, we each need to know our own unique design, which is God's design for us. - theologian Os Guinness in his book The Call
If it were up to mothers (and fathers too), no son or daughter would ever volunteer for military service. We don't like seeing our children do dangerous things, whether it's leaping from the top of jungle gyms or volunteering for rescue missions in Iraq, as Casey Sheehan did. But if mothers really could pick their children's careers, what kind of a world would we have? We would wake up one morning to discover that we had no more soldiers, policemen or firemen, no freedom fighters, no prison guards or life guards. We would find ourselves in a world in which the strong preyed upon the weak, a world in which millions would be abandoned to the tender mercies of death squads and serial killers, to those who rape and torture, exploit and enslave. What a terrible world it would be.

This is not easy for parents to accept, but accept it we must. Whatever our children are called to do, our job is to honor their decisions and to pray for them as they carry out necessary human tasks in a fallen world.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. - Philippians 4:8
Cindy versus Casey. We easily see a stark choice — a choice this nation will remember long after her Texas circus: "This country is not worth dying for" versus "all he wanted to do was serve God and his country."

The news media have done Cindy Sheehan no favor. They only let a grief-stricken mother embarrass herself; it has been painful to watch. It's past time to shift the spotlight back to her brave son and his surviving comrades, where it has always belonged.