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Casey Sheehan’s Grave Finally Gets Marker

From the Vacaville Reporter:

A gravestone now marks Casey Sheehan’s resting place at Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery in Vacaville.

Casey Sheehan’s grave receives its headstone

By Julie Kay/Staff Writer

Memorial Day will be different this year at the Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery, where Casey Sheehan, a soldier from Vacaville, lies buried.

Until this week, more than two years after his death in Iraq, Casey’s grave has been marked only by a small plaque. On Thursday, it received a headstone.

The elegant marble slab is thick and emblazoned with a cross and delicate thickets of trees on both sides.

"Our Casey," reads an inscription on the front. "Ever faithful, kind, and gentle, good son, beloved brother, brave soldier, dear friend, you loved your family and lived your life serving others to the end." Six icons grace the other side, representing a military insignia, the theater, Eagle Scouts, Van Halen, the World Wrestling Federation and Superman.

Also on the front are Casey’s name and the dates of his life and death, which reveal an uncanny synchronicity. In addition to Memorial Day, Monday will also be Casey’s birthday, the day on which he would have turned 27.

The installation of the headstone on Casey’s grave is likely to get more notice than the vast majority of such installations. Casey’s mother, Cindy Sheehan, has become a well-known anti-war activist since Casey’s death, frequently in the spotlight in front of a highly divided crowd.

The absence of a headstone on Casey’s grave became fodder for Sheehan’s critics last year, who accused her of being negligent and disrespectful. Sheehan did not publicly respond for the first several months of such charges. But on April 10, she wrote a blog entry excoriating her critics and recounting the torturous experience of burying her son.

"I didn’t want to put a tombstone on my son’s grave," she wrote, capitalizing the letters of the word "tomb." "I didn’t want one more marble proof that my son was dead."

For the first year after Casey died, wrote Sheehan in the entry, she referred to the place he was buried not as a cemetery, but as "Casey’s Park." During that time she visited the cemetery nearly every day, she wrote, placing fresh flowers weekly on Casey’s grave.

Sheehan also said that her estranged husband Patrick had taken on the responsibility of handling Casey’s gravesite.

On Friday, Sheehan answered questions about the headstone via e-mail from Australia, where she has spent the week speaking out against the country’s support of the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq.

Sheehan said she had paid for the tombstone herself and was part of a family effort to put it up, even though its installation saddened her.

"It is important for the rest of Casey’s family to have one," she wrote Friday. "I guess the pain of seeing it etched in marble that he is dead is another pain I will have to deal with."

That pain, said Sheehan, stems from her belief that Casey should still be alive.

"I still feel he was killed for lies," she wrote.

The headstone was very expensive, Sheehan wrote. She said that the government should have paid for it because of its responsibility for his death. But Sheehan said money is not the main issue.

"It’s about the lies that are still killing our children and innocent Iraqis," she wrote. "It’s about unnecessary tombstones all over the world because of the Bush regime."

The new headstone on Casey’s grave won’t impact her relationship with her son, concluded Sheehan.

"Casey’s shell lies in the grave in Vacaville," she wrote. "He is with me always and in the hearts of people all over the world who know his story and are working for peace."

Patrick Sheehan did not return phone calls by press time Friday.

I find this part impossible to believe:

For the first year after Casey died, wrote Sheehan in the entry, she referred to the place he was buried not as a cemetery, but as "Casey’s Park." During that time she visited the cemetery nearly every day, she wrote, placing fresh flowers weekly on Casey’s grave.

In fact within weeks of Casey’s death, Mother Sheehan began spending a lot of her time on the road propagandizing for the people who killed her brave son.

For instance, her appearance in Santa Barbara on Labor Day, 2004.

These parts too are very likely lies:

Sheehan said she had paid for the tombstone herself and was part of a family effort to put it up, even though its installation saddened her…

The headstone was very expensive, Sheehan wrote. She said that the government should have paid for it because of its responsibility for his death. But Sheehan said money is not the main issue.

From earlier accounts, the government would have paid for it, if Cindy could have taken the time to fill out a form.

Moreover, earlier reports from the mortuary owner indicated that Mother Sheehan refused to pay for anything. And that he ended up paying for much of Casey’s funeral expense, even though the Sheehan had received more than a half million dollars in various death benefits.

Also, earlier accounts indicated that her former husband, Patrick Sheehan, had actually taken over getting the headstone. So this was probably his doing.

(Thanks to reader JLO for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, May 27th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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