The fallen soldier's mother whose August vigil near President Bush's ranch reinvigorated the anti-war movement returned to Texas to resume her protest Thursday as the president celebrated Thanksgiving a few miles away.
"I feel happy to be back here with all my friends ... but I'm heartbroken that we have to be here again," Cindy Sheehan said as she arrived at an airport in nearby Waco. "We will keep pressing and we won't give up until our troops are brought home."
Sheehan was largely unknown when she set up camp outside Bush's ranch during the president's August vacation.
It became a 26-day vigil that drew supporters from across the country and national attention.
Sheehan, who has continued encouraging anti-war demonstrations, asked protesters to return to Crawford this week during Bush's family Thanksgiving gathering.
The protesters' camp is on the same 1-acre private lot that a sympathetic landowner let them use in August.
For the holiday Thursday, more than 100 war protesters ate a traditional Iraqi meal — salmon, lentils and rice with almonds — saying they wanted to call attention to the civilians killed in the war.
More than 2,100 U.S. soldiers have also died since the war began in March 2003.
"It's significant because the people of Iraq are suffering under our occupation, and for people in America it's business as usual stuffing themselves on fat turkeys," said Tammara Rosenleaf, whose husband is an Army soldier to be deployed in a few weeks. "We in good conscience cannot behave that way while our troops are over there."
A few miles away, a Bush supporter set up camp with a tent and signs saying "A Noble Cause" showing pictures of smiling Iraqi children.
"Perhaps the troops, they feel like they don't get gratitude or a thank-you, and I'll come and say 'Thank you' in my own way because it's Thanksgiving," said Akef Tayem, who lives in Dallas and has relatives in Jordan.