The Memorial Day news that anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan quit the Democratic Party and her role as "Peace Mom" shocked many, including her family and close friends.
We have known for a long time that Cindy was flailing, as we reported in our book. It was difficult to see a grieving mother wander the world with a bleeding heart that the anti-war left wouldn't allow to heal.
We pray that Cindy will go home to her three children and work through her grief.
As the world learned of Cindy's resignations, her family went about their business without an inkling that she was quitting her mission. Her ex-husband Pat, was jogging laps in Sacramento for fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. He ran one lap for each fallen soldier including his and Cindy's son, Casey, who was born on Memorial Day 1979 and died on April 4, 2004, when terrorists killed him in a Baghdad slum.
Pat had spoken with his sister, Cherie Quartarolo, before he went to the event, she said in an exclusive interview with us. She was shocked when we told her that Cindy was quitting. Pat said nothing about it, so he didn't know, Cherie said.
"I figured that when she called Hillary Clinton on the carpet, it was over," she added. "Even though she's a 'progressive' I figured it was a matter of time before it was the end for her."
Cindy's collapse is very sad - and entirely predictable. We have spoken publicly numerous times about the eventual downfall of "Mother Sheehan" and watched as Democrats turned against her.
Cindy left her husband in the summer of 2005 when she made her stand in Crawford, Texas, near President Bush's ranch. She demanded a second meeting with the president so she could ask him for what noble cause Casey died.
Cherie, who was also Casey's Godmother, believes Cindy will now try to reconcile with Pat, even though their divorce is final.
"Oh yeah! Pat is a meal ticket. He's her fallback position," Cherie said.
Cindy's three adult children have suffered tremendously since Casey died. Their grief was magnified when Cindy left Vacaville, Calif., and traveled with the Kerry campaign to defeat President Bush. When that failed, Cindy and one of her daughters made campaign commercials critical of Bush. Ultimately, Cindy and high-paid public relations people set her up outside Bush's ranch to inflame the anti-war movement, as we reported in our book, "American Mourning."
"Her kids are hanging in there," Cherie said in our Memorial Day interview. "They have really had some trouble over her being gone."
In her goodbye message, posted on DailyKos.com and entitled, "Good
Riddance Attention Whore," Cindy said she "was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party . . . However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. . ."
Cindy was the darling of the Democrats because they made her. They set her up. They used her and kicked her to the curb, as politicians from all parties will do. We predicted this in our book.
American Mourning: The Intimate Story of Two Families Joined by War, Torn by Beliefs" by Catherine Moy and Melanie Morgan was attacked relentlessly for accurately reporting her story - by the same people on the Left who ultimately turned on her - because she dared to go after their Democrat idols.
The media also bears a tremendous responsibility for building her up, and then tearing her down for their own agenda. Shakespeare could not have written a more poignant, terrifyingly painful story.
We went to Crawford, Texas, and watched Cindy. Before anybody knew her, Catherine wrote about her in the Vacaville Reporter, warning that people would use Cindy. Then we watched as the Democrats found her less palatable, like a fine wine that changed to vinegar.
When the Democrats took over Congress, Cindy - a lifelong Democrat - had hopes. But she literally had to steal their microphones on Capitol Hill as they tried to ignore her. She was reaching out like a cat in a water barrel. It was suffocating to watch.
While Cindy's family slogged through the heavy weight of grief that forever scarred their souls. she ran. She yelled. She ran some more. In some way, she believed she was helping the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, when, in fact, she hurt their mission.
The men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan took it on the chin as she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by the extremes of her party to travel the world denouncing American Imperialism and accusing our troops of murder.
While many of Casey's Army buddies returned to Iraq to finish their mission, Cindy still believes that her beloved son lost his life in vain.
"The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing . . ." Cindy wrote.
In this she is wrong, according to other Gold Star families, those who have lost children in war.
"American Mourning" is the story of two families, the Sheehans and the Johnsons. Justin Johnson was an Army buddy of Casey. He laid down fire from his gunner's sling so Casey and other soldiers' bodies could be removed from the kill zone. Six days later, Justin died in the same slum.
The Johnson family believes Casey and Justin died for freedom, for the security of the United States. They are correct. Casey knew exactly what he was doing. We have spoken with many who were with Casey before and after he died. He was right with God. He knew.
And now, finally, Cindy is going back to her family.
"I am going to take whatever I have left and go home," Cindy wrote.
Our prayers go out to Ms. Sheehan, her sister Dede Miller, but mostly for Casey Sheehan, a true American hero.