Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 13 - Walking to Spark Thinking, Debate and Action

A member of the Portsmouth-based 'Leftist Marching Band' met us on the road today with his saxophone as we approached Kennebunk.  When we arrive in York Beach tomorrow the band will greet us at our night spot.
Peace walker John Morris (on left) playing guitar with some students at the New School in Kennebunk who are hosting us tonight

Twenty-two folks joined the walk today as we did our 10-mile peace strut from Saco to Kennebunk.  I've been joking today, with a great deal of truth in my words, that we are a moving line of senior citizens.  In fact just as we arrived at the New School this afternoon I got a phone call from a woman who lives at a senior citizen home 1.7 miles from here who said that 6-12 folks from their center want to join the walk when we pass by tomorrow morning.  That will be exciting for sure.  Power to the peaceful elders!

We were joined on the walk this morning by Maine Vietnam veteran Preston Hood (a former Navy Seal) who won the Maine Literary Award in 2012 for his poetry.  While waiting for dinner he read a couple of his poems to us.  One was about his Marine son who killed himself and Preston reminded us that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

We are hosted at the New School by Olive Hight who is a high school senior and coordinated the cooking of our dinner with a group of her fellow students in the school kitchen.  Olive is the daughter of my longtime friend Matt Hight who brought her to Bath last July 4 for the annual parade.  They both helped us carry our political displays in the parade and she agreed then to inquire about hosting us when the peace walk came through Kennebunk.  It's fun to see the excited students preparing food for our group.

We had two different local newspapers take photos and interviews today as we walked. We are told that another paper will catch us tomorrow as we head into York Beach.  One reported asked me what our primary goal was and I answered that we are trying to break through the silence about the Pentagon having the largest carbon bootprint on the planet.  She remarked that she'd never heard that before but that it made alot of sense.  If that gets into her story we will be happy.

York Beach is likely to be our biggest evening event during the walk.  The Boston-area Veterans for Peace Smedley Butler Brigade is going all out to get people to this event.  Pat Scanlon is getting his neighbors involved in housing some of us and he has arranged for the 'Leftist Marching Band' from Portsmouth to greet us as we walk down the street to Pat's house.  Add in the various activists from around the state who will appear there as well and it should be quite a night.  And the pizzas being donated will be a hit I'm sure.

It seems we had more honks from cars and trucks today than previously.  One family stopped their car right in the middle of the busy US Highway 1 while we were taking a break asking for more information.  It's really fun to watch people approaching us and wanting to talk politics - it happened several times today.  You can see there is a hunger amongst many people for community and answers to their questions about why things are so bad across the country.  We've repeatedly seen that this walk is serving to spark thinking, debate, and action.  Can't ask for much more than that.


Blogger Lisa Savage said...

Great report from the road, Bruce! I am excited to join the final day of the walk in Portsmouth, NH today.

10/24/15, 5:26 AM  

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