Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sharing What It's Like To Be A Military Family

'Barking dogs take on whole new meaning'

Frank Abderholden
The News Sun

Everytime the three dogs bark at some movement outside his Lindenhurst home, Bill Scheurer takes a deep breath.

"The barking takes on a whole new meaning. We shudder to look out the window because we don't know if we are going to see THAT car there," he said.

That car would be the one carrying military officials coming to inform Scheurer something terrible has happened to his son Daniel, 27, who is with the Army National Guard stationed in Baghdad.

Scheurer is a member of Military Families Speak Out, which has an offshoot called the Gold Star Families for Peace. That group was cofounded by Cindy Sheehan, the angry mother of a dead soldier that has been camping outside President Bush's Texas ranch until he meets with her.

Wednesday night there were vigils held in Deerfield, Highland Park and Island Lake to support Sheehan, mother of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq last year.

Scheurer runs PeaceMajority.org and publishes the online Peace Majority Report. The latest story on the Web site says, "Cindy Sheehan's demand for answers has immense power in a country lied to about (the) war."

He said he has met Sheehan and others in the Gold Star Families for Peace, a group of families who have lost a family member in the war in Iraq.

"I know these people. You almost don't want to look them in the eye because you don't want to think about becoming one of them," he said.

The Gold Star reference comes from a group of 25 women who mourning the loss of their sons in World War I decided to meet in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 1928, to make plans for the formation of the American Gold Star Mothers Inc.

The group would be open to any mother whose son or daughter died during active duty with the military. The group's symbol, the gold star, came into use during World War I when families of service members began displaying service flags emblazoned with a dark blue star for each living member in the military.

When a service member died or was killed during active duty, the blue stars were replaced with gold stars. Congress recognized the group in 1936 and four years later President Roosevelt issued a proclamation declaring the last Sunday in September Gold Star Mother's Day.

Recent polls have shown that a majority, 54 percent in a recent Gallup Poll, say the U.S. made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq. That's up from 46 percent in March. In March 2003 an overwelming majority supported the war.

Scheurer and his son, David, disagree on the war. He finished his tour with the Marines and then went into the Army National Guard.

"It was part economic, adventure and duty. There weren't many job opportunites when he got out of the Marines," he said, noting he was trained to drive amphibious assault vehicles.

"His view is we fight them over there or we fight them over here," he said.

Scheurer ran in the Democratic primary in 2003 for a chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Philip Crane, R-Wauconda, as a peace candidate, but lost. Then he ran against state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, R-Antioch, because she had no opposition and lost again. He said he is contemplating a third party run for Congress, but that requires a huge number of signatures.

He said even though he and his son differ on the war, his son supported him in election efforts.

He said the sole purpose of the vigils are to share what it is like to be a military family. "The vigils are to show solidarity with those suffering this experience," he said.

He also had another child, his daughter, Marcy, 29, who was in Army intelligence along with her husband. She is out now and served after the first Gulf War. He has another son, Allen, 31, and another daughter, Essie Shur, 23, who changed her name because she is an actress. She has been a guest actress on American Dreams and is in a movie called Smile that is coming out soon.


Post a Comment

<< Home