Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Soldier's Peace :: Day 2

A Soldier's Peace
"Day 2 : October 3, 2006

After walking about 25 miles yesterday, I was more than a little sore this morning. Doug, a Vietnam-era vet from Oregon, met me in front of the Jensen Historical Farm and we started walking. Doug isn’t the only one who traveled from Oregon for the walk. Don, a World War II vet, came down as well. They both heard the interview on Democracy Now! and decided it was worth the drive.

I invited them both over for dinner. Don, a vibrant 89-year-old with a snow white beard, pulled me close. “We were loyal soldiers. We understand loyalty. But we’re also little Youssarians as well,” he said with a twinkle, referring to the main character of Catch-22 who recognized the insanity of war and was thusly considered to be insane.

Don left last night, so this morning Doug and I continued on into Sardine Canyon. Doug and I had the same job in the military and we had fun comparing notes.

The trees have started to loose their leaves, but the colors that are left were brilliant. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk.

Just past Mantua (pronounced man-a-way), a car slowed to a stop. A man rolled down the window and said he wanted to shake my hand. I did so just as I heard the honk of a speeding semi-truck coming our way. The woman driving wisely pulled over into the emergency lane and we spoke for a second. An improvised explosive device hit their son during a convoy in Iraq. They said he was OK, but the right side of his body will never be the same. Their son, now returned home, was driving through the canyon and saw me walking, but didn’t notice in time to stop. They said he called them up and told them to drive up the canyon and shake my hand.

I was honored. It was a reminder of why this walk is so important. Real people are being killed or injured."


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