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Sheehan returns to Crawford

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Sheehan returns to Crawford

Dead soldier's mom resumes anti-war vigil

Thursday, August 25, 2005; Posted: 1:07 a.m. EDT (05:07 GMT)

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- The California woman at the center of anti-war protests outside President Bush's ranch returned to Texas to cheers -- and a few boos -- Wednesday after nearly a week away to tend her ailing mother.

About 40 supporters, and a couple of Bush supporters, greeted Sheehan's return to "Camp Casey," outside Bush's property. The protest site, made up of two campsites, is named after her 24-year-old son, an Army mechanic killed in Baghdad last year.

While she was away, Sheehan's supporters erected a 10-by-10-foot banner with the dates of her son's birth and death and the words: "In loving memory of Army Specialist Casey A. Sheehan."

Sheehan broke down in tears upon seeing it, prompting first aid treatment by medical personnel.

The campsites are lined with crosses bearing the names of American troops killed in Iraq, and Sheehan laid flowers and kissed the markers bearing her son's name.

Since Sheehan left the camp last week when her mother suffered a stroke, Bush has also left his ranch to give two speeches reinforcing why the administration believes it would be wrong to pull out of Iraq at the moment. (Full story)

Bush returned to the ranch late Wednesday.

Accompanying Sheehan were Melanie and Susan House, the widow and mother of John House, a Navy hospital corpsman killed in a January helicopter crash in Iraq. Melanie House had been in Idaho to protest during Bush's visit there and said she wanted him to explain "what's the reason for this war."

Bush met once with Sheehan and other relatives of troops killed in Iraq during an appearance at Fort Lewis, Washington, last year. He has so far refused to meet with her a second time and said during his Idaho visit Tuesday that her stance on troop withdrawal from Iraq "would weaken the United States."

"She expressed her opinion; I disagree with it," Bush said. "I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake."

The 48-year-old began her vigil outside the president's property August 6 in hopes of questioning him about the reasons for the U.S. invasion and to urge an American withdrawal.

CNN's Ed Lavandera and Eric Fiegel contributed to this report.


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