|Zappala, from Philadelphia, Pa was
part of the “Bring Them Home Now Tour” started by
anti-war icon Cindy Sheehan. Zappala’s son Army Sgt. Sherwood
R. Baker, 30, died in Iraq in April 2004.
Sheehan also lost a son in Iraq, Army SPC Casey Sheehan. She
started her anti-war protest at “Camp Casey” outside
President G.W. Bush’s Texas ranch and then went on the
road with the, “Bring Them Home Now Tour.”
The tour consisted of three buses that visited 51 cities in 28
states, ending three weeks later, Sept. 24-26, in Washington
There Sheehan joined with a broader anti-war effort organized
on Capitol Hill by United for Peace and Justice. They were joined
by other organizations: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Gold Star
Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans
Zappala helped Sheehan organize the tour. “I know Cindy
Sheehan very well,” Zappala said. “She is a bold,
courageous, intelligent person, with a great sense of humor.
The tour came to Philly where I live, and I went with them to
Baltimore, then onto D.C.”
The anti-war protest drew some 200,000 people to Washington,” Zappala
We went through the lawn of Congress, where we had a press conference
interview with ABC in front of the White House, and then left
a message for President Bush at the Washington National Monument,” she
added. “We then circled the White House, which took about
five hours for the whole parade route.”
Zappala is like 1,935 other American families whose stories have
been brought to light, in recent days as the debate about the
war in Iraq continues, and the U.S. death toll nears 2,000. Zappala’s
son joined the Army National Guard in 1997. “He didn’t
want to go to Iraq,” she said. “He joined the Army
when the world was a lot saner.” He is survived by a wife
Some Americans feel Zappala’s actions are unpatriotic.
That her grief has taken her down the wrong path, and she has
become disrespectful to our troops and other parent’s who
have lost children. Deborah Johns, from Roseville, California,
co-founder of Marine Moms, has a son in Iraq. “If God took
my son and called him home, I would continue to stand behind
our military men and women and I would continue to support our
president of the United States” she said. Pro-war groups
have sprung up in defiance of Sheehan, the “Move-Forward-America
Organization”, which is Sacramento based, participated
in a tour called “You Don’t Speak for Me Cindy.” And
on September 25, a “We Support Our Troops and Their Mission
Weekend” in Washington.
Zappala believes otherwise, “As far as being called unpatriotic
for protesting, it’s an easy shot for other people to take.
I consider myself pro-peace. I support the troops, but they need
to come home now.
Nothing I say will bring my son back. I try to keep my anger
productive. At least twice a day I stop in my tracks and think
about my son, and I have to make myself keep walking, but it
breaks me for those moments, and I have to pull myself back together.
I realize he is never coming home,” Zappala said.
For now Zappala is back home, but the group is planning another
anti-war protest on the day the U.S. death toll reaches 2,000.
|Celeste Zappala speakes during
the "Bring Them Home Now Tour" in Washington D.C. Sept. 24-26.
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