Anti-War Moms Press on Without Cindy Sheehan

Anti-war mom Elaine Johnson protests outside White House

Elaine Johnson, whose son was killed in Iraq, joins anti-war demonstrators outside the White House. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Cindy Sheehan — one of the country's most prominent anti-war activists — is withdrawing. She announced this week that she is stepping away from the limelight and her role as the "face" of the anti-war movement. It is a role she assumed after her son, Casey Sheehan, died while serving in Iraq in 2004.

In an online statement, Sheehan says she has come to the "devastating" conclusion that her son did, indeed, die for nothing. Her post-activist plans are to reclaim her health and take care of her surviving children.

But other mothers who have lost children in Iraq are still speaking out against the war. Elaine Johnson's son, Army Spc. Darius Jennings, was one of 17 U.S. troops killed when a helicopter was shot down by Iraqi insurgents Nov. 2, 2004. Soon after, Johnson, a resident of South Carolina, decided to channel the pain of her loss like Cindy Sheehan had, by becoming an outspoken opponent of the war.

Since her son's death, Johnson has met with President Bush on Iraq war policy and expressed her dissatisfaction with his administration.

"I asked him questions on why we were over there," Johnson recalls. "He couldn't answer that. I said, well, what are we fighting for? He said to finish a mission."

Two other mothers share Johnson's agony and frustration and are pressing forward without Cindy Sheehan. Doris Kent, whose son, Cpl. Jonathan Santos, was killed in October 2004, and Celeste Zapalla, whose son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was also killed in combat, discuss their loss and their desire to see America's troops brought home soon.

Hear more from Elaine, Doris and Celeste by clicking "Listen" at the top of this page.

Web material written and produced by Lee Hill.

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.