Candlelight vigils calling for an end to the war in Iraq got underway Wednesday night in a national effort spurred by one mother’s antiwar demonstration in Crawford, Texas, outside President Bush’s ranch.

The vigils were urged by Cindy Sheehan, who has become the icon of the antiwar movement since she started a protest on August 6 in memory of her son Casey, who died in Iraq last year. Sheehan says she will remain outside the president’s ranch until he meets with her and other grieving families, or until his monthlong vacation there ends.

More than 1,600 vigils took place nationwide, according to the organizers, Political Action, TrueMajority and Democracy for America. A large vigil at Paris’ Peace Wall, a glass monument near the Eiffel Tower, also drew thousands of people. And in Crawford itself, an estimated 200 protesters lit candles and gathered around a wooden, flag-draped coffin at Sheehan’s growing camp, about a mile from the Bush compound.

One woman has touched the hearts of people coast to coast, moving many to take action themselves, and in the process has reinvigorated the antiwar movement virtually singlehandedly. There are numerous ways you can support Sheehan’s protest.

Some ideas:

Flood the White House with phone calls. Let them know that you support Sheehan and want Bush to take the time out of his vacation to meet with her. The number for the White House comment line is 202-456-1111.

Send Sheehan a Pink Rose. For five dollars, you can send a pink rose to beautify her arid camp, and a message of support to bolster her spirit. Pink roses traditionally symbolize grace and gratitude.

Add your name to the People’s Petition for a Way Out of Iraq. The petition lays out a way to get out of Iraq and will be presented to Congress in September.

Heed the the call from United for Peace and Justice and other activist groups to come to Washington, DC from September 24 to 26 to join what they expect will be a massive weekend of protests against the war in Iraq. Click here for info.

Check out a new website–MeetWithCindy.Org–which makes it easy to help support Sheehan’s efforts. The Crawford Peace House is also mobilizing support for Sheehan and assisting visiting activists with logistics support.

We could be close to a tipping-point moment with new polls showing a majority of Americans opposed to the continued occupation of Iraq. So anything you can do at this potentially momentous time could make a real difference.