Nationwide vigils call for war to end
CRAWFORD, Texas -- Hundreds of candlelight vigils calling for an end to the war in Iraq lit up the night Wednesday, part of a national effort spurred by one mother's anti-war demonstration near President Bush's ranch.
The vigils were urged by Cindy Sheehan, who has become the icon of the anti-war movement since she started a protest Aug. 6 in memory of her son Casey, who died in Iraq last year.
On Wednesday, more than 1,600 vigils were planned from coast to coast by liberal advocacy groups MoveOn.org Political Action, TrueMajority, and Democracy for America.
In the Chicago area, vigils were held in Evanston, Oak Park, Highland Park, Palatine and Glen Ellyn, along with Chicago observances at Cricket Hill near Montrose Harbor and near the University of Illinois Chicago campus, according to WGN-TV.
According to organizer Dickelle Fonda, there were more than 700 people at the Evanston vigil. WGN-TV said that more than 200 attended the Cricket Hill event.
As the sun set in Crawford, about 100 protesters lit candles and placed them in plastic cups to shield them from the breeze. They gathered around a wooden, flag-draped coffin at Sheehan's growing camp.
FreeRepublic.com, which holds rallies to support troops and to counter anti-war demonstrations, planned a pro-Bush rally Wednesday night at the same Washington park as a candlelight vigil there.
"For us, the organizers of the vigil are phony-baloney, betraying the sacrifices that those men and women make in Iraq," said Kristinn Taylor, co-leader of the group's Washington chapter.