Day 15 & 16 - The Big Finish
|Lined up across from the Navy shipyard gate in Kittery this morning|
|Navy veteran Eric Wasileski tells his story at the Navy shipyard rally|
MB and I are home and have unloaded the car and cleaned out the coolers and food crates. The signs and banners are stowed for next week's (October 31) protest at the Bath Iron Works shipyard where the Navy will 'christen' another Aegis destroyer.
In the video posted just below you find about 50 of us having just come over the bridge from Portsmouth, New Hampshire heading for the Kittery Naval shipyard in Maine. We held a rally at the gate with several good speakers and the band played some more music which we broadcasted with our sound system deep into the shipyard for their listening pleasure.
One of the speakers at the shipyard gate was Eric Wasileski who served in the Navy on a destroyer during Bill Clinton's attack on Iraq (Operation Desert Fox) in 1998. Eric's ship fired more than 50 cruise missiles into Iraq and he told the story of one of the missiles that misfired and landed in the ocean just minutes away from the ship. They steamed to the site of impact and discovered massive kills of ocean life - fish, sea snakes, sea turtles and more. He also told the story of regularly firing 'depleted uranium' shells from onboard the ship into the ocean to test the guns which would have put huge amounts of the radioactive debris into the sea.
On Friday as we neared Portsmouth we arrived at the Kittery Naval shipyard at 3:00 pm just in time for the start of the worker shift change. Cars poured out of the gates for more than an hour and we stood on both sides of the narrow exit road holding our signs and banners. Veterans for Peace member Nate Goldshlag handed out many fliers to drivers as they sat at the traffic light waiting to leave the shipyard. (In the end we got rid of all of the flyers we made for the walk.)
This morning (Saturday) we gathered at Market Square in the heart of downtown Portsmouth to prepare to walk back to the shipyard for our rally at a second gate. As we waited on folks to arrive the 'Leftist Marching Band' cranked up the sound which drew attention far and wide. As we walked the two miles to the shipyard the band kept the songs going. We were also joined this morning by Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monk Brother Kato who in the past has led several of our walks through Maine. It was quite a site seeing our long line of marchers going over the bridge.
After the rally at the shipyard gate we walked back to Market Square for our final closing circle. I thanked this wonderful community, a family, for their cooperative spirit and for their determined effort to walk so far for such good reasons. While I am sure everyone will be glad to get back to their own beds tonight I know that we all will miss one another and cherish the bonds we formed during this sacred walk.
My hope is that we all find ways to work and walk together again.
I am still collecting photos from the walk. Probably tomorrow I'll post many more of them. Thanks to all who helped make this walk such a great success.