Camp Casey Detroit--Day 19 & 20 (Part 1)
On Friday night, the Bring Them Home Now Bus Tour from Camp Casey Crawford, Texas arrived in Detroit. We at Camp Casey Detroit had planned to greet them with a potluck picnic supper, but those poor folks were too exhausted and stressed out to join us. So we partied ourselves.
At about 8:30 PM, I drove out to meet them at a Coney Island restaurant that was a few exits away from where they should have gotten off the expressway. Our directions had been confusing and they were going through serious group issues, so, at their request, I led them directly over to Day House where we'd arranged for them to spend the weekend.
Once there, the group needed to deal with what was eating at them, so I sat in my minivan and let them hash things out. After about 45 minutes, three of the tour members were ready to have me drive them the three miles over to Camp Casey Detroit.
Fortunately there were still a good number of people there, so our guests were made to feel welcome. In fact, Cody Camacho, who later received a call that, instead of spending the night at Camp Casey Detroit as he'd hoped, he was needed back at Day House, said to me on the drive back, "Your camp feels just like Camp Casey down in Crawford--full of love."
After a couple more trips between Camp Casey Detroit and Day House, Marci Young, a member of the tour, came home with me for the night. We stayed up until 2 AM talking.
By 11:15 AM on Saturday, we were back at Day House where we found Cody working on repairing the door of their mobile home with the help of Tammara Rosenleaf and Morrigan Phillips. I sat around taking pictures and offering moral support, but soon it was time for those who wanted/had the energy to attend the Detroit Area Women In Black vigil at Camp Casey Detroit at noon to make the trip over to Grand Circus Park. Al Zappala, Mike Ferner and Marci decided to join me.
This was my first time at a monthly Women In Black vigil here in Detroit--for years our Raging Grannies' monthly meetings were on the same day as the WIB vigils--so I was surprised to see so many people. I'd bet there were at least 125 in attendance. Marci marched with them while Al and I sat under the trees and talked.
We spoke of the stresses the group has endured in the nine days they've been on the road: the packed schedules of events and rallies in nine cities thus far; their sometimes going to two cities in one day; the counter-demonstrators that have heckled them; the different leadership styles that led to last night's interpersonal challenges; Al's having acted as mediator so that he'd gotten little sleep. When I encouraged him to take time for himself even if it meant not going to every rally and event, he smiled and said, "This is only three weeks out of my life. I want to do all I can. As the only representative of the Gold Star Families For Peace, I need to share my story at every opportunity. I'm retired so I can catch up on my sleep when I get home."
When Al spoke at our Detroit Peace Rally later that afternoon, I learned that his son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, had been killed in Baghdad on April 26, 2004. Sherwood left a 27 year-old widow and a nine year-old son. I was touched by Al's comment that every Gold Star family member knows what number death their loved one was--Sherwood was # 720--but "The Iraqis don't have numbers; this government is so racist it doesn't even count them."
Well, maybe Al can get by on just a few hours sleep, but not I. It's 1:30 AM and I've got to hit the sack. I have more stories to tell and more photos to share. And now that Camp Casey Detroit has closed down, I will have the time to do it.
--posted by Patricia