Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Either with me or against me, you decide

If I was to line up 241 flag draped caskets in town I know I ouwld get the media's attention to our plight but since I have so far chosen not to I must walk again. Maybe I walk till I die or drop then maybe people will see that I am serious about waking America up before someone walks into D.C. with a small nuke device, then of course they would all be screaming. I don't know what it takes to get their attention, I had it for about 30 minutes now they are forgetting already but worse than that so are the ones who say "Never Forget".
Now it is time to stand up, speak up, write letters, demand attention or all has been for nothing. Within the next day or so I will quietly walk out and start another walk, this time a silent walk, no media no signs nothing to draw attention. I want to see if people notice, I will carry nothing with me except my clothes and smokes and of course somehting to drink. I will not stop until we get what we deserve, respect, hnor and justice for those who did not come home with us. I guess I am saying you are either with me or against me, now is the time to choose sides.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Local Walk Completed

On Wednesday the 17th of May 2006 I began a 241 "lap" walk around the small downtown area of Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. It was to be 149 miles when completed, I had to reduce the route so I walked 241 laps but only completed 129 miles.
Here is an account of the walk.

Day 1 12:00 PM I am ready to start lap 1 when the local newspapers photgrapher shows up. I was shocked, they do not generaly pay any attention to the human will of the town. So I asked himt to wait so I could start on time and he agreed, after I completed my first lap we set up a photo op and he took a picture of me presenting a Beirut Commerative Coin to Gary Hatch a local businessman and friend. Gary agreed to let me use his store front as a check point.

After the photographer left I went back to walking my laps. My wife and Daughter manned the table we had set up and had our computer running the Beirut Videos my wife made so that people could see what a tragedy it had been.
Many people walked past, few stopped to inquire what we were doing. the ones who did stop were genuine and expressed concern and sympathy for the 241 men who lost their lives on October 23rd 1983. My daughter had made a sign for the front of the table, it told everyone we were here to remember these Heroes and their Families but most who passed looked away, a few even rolled their eyes. But I walked on and my Family stayed their course as well.
As night fell I stopped to allow my wife and daughter to return home and my future son-in-law came out to man the table. After about 30 minutes I resumed walking and the weather tunred cold and rain threatened most all night. Around 02:00 AM it stopped threatening and started to rain. I wlaked through the rain and 40 degree night, not because I am a hero but because I promised all I would not give up. Morning brought only more rain and low temps, but in the early hours of the morning of the 18th David Scott a Representitive of Edward Jones Investments walked across the street and handed me a cup of hot coffee and thanked me. I thanked him in return and explained what Beirut had been about.
About 11:00 AM that same day I began to feel the real pain in my back and legs, I began to have doubts that I would be able to finish this walk. I had walked quick laps earlier that morning so that I could take it easy during the day, less laps meant fighting less traffic. Every lap was a double adventure in well marked crosswalks, yet I was almost run over many times. I began to think that instead of my legs giving out that I would be run over by a school bus or Police car. Well I survived both of the doubts I felt that day and closed in on the last night with excitement and dread.
I felt excitement because I knew that this would be the last night of the walk and dread because I knew this would be the hardest night and 99 laps still remained to be walked. I knew that after 7:00 PM the traffic would lighten up and of course that would make the laps faster and safer. So as dark fell I began walking faster laps. Even though I felt the pain in my body worsen I felt that I could easily complete these laps.
This thought lasted until around 10:00 PM when a pain grabbed my back and kept me from standing upright and my legs were running out of strength. At that time I decided that I would no longer cross the street, but I would instead walk on one side of the street, so I added about 100 feet a lap to compensate for the width of the road twice and limped toward midnight.
I had walked over 200 laps when I reached midnight and the begining of the last day, but I walked slower and slower each lap. I leaned on every object on the street. I knew that at any moment a Police Officer was going to stop and ask me to subject myself to a breathalizer, but this didn't happen and at 02:30 AM I walked lap 240 and sat down. I would wait till my wife and daughter arrived after 10:00 AM to complete the last lap. Becky, my wife had been such a big part of all of this that I would not complete this without her being there. So I sat for a few minutes then I walked slowly home to shower and relax the sore muscles.
At 7:30 AM I returned to Grooves Music and waited her arrival. I sat and reflected on the last 2 days and what I had seen and heard. Most people couldn't care less about this tragedy. I was truly surprised and shocked, what has happened to this country and the people who inhabit this land? Had they all become so apathetic that they lived in little invisible bubbles? Did the murder of 241 men by terrorists not shock them enough to care? Or maybe they just truly don't care about anything unless it directly effects them. It was during this reflection that I met a man who was truly interested. He told me of his sons in the Navy and asked if he could donate to our cause. I told him that we were not accepting donations but he could donate to any charity he chose in the name of one of the men who died in Beirut. He looked through the list of names and chose one, he thanked me for my service and for walking to remember these men and left me thinking maybe I was wrong.
Just then a woman walked by, slowed to read the sign ( The sign at the time had a lap count of 240, this pic was taken earlier the night before)
she looked at me and rolled her eyes, she quickly walked away as if I was a threat to her. I had to assume that my message threatened her and all those who think that nothing bad happens here, that all of the bad stuff happens "over there". I shrugged it off and soon my wife and daughter walked around the corner. I knew that we were close to putting this walk to rest and with it maybe I could put the memories Ihave of that day to rest as well.
I sat and talked about the night before to them and at 09:15 AM I started the last lap. I walked slowly at first, the stiffness and pain not yeilding to my will, but at around halfway I picked up speed and limped my way back to the start/finish line. I crossed it at 09:27 AM and marked down the last lap for W. Zimmerman fittingly enough a Beirut Hero who once lived in Michigan. I watched as becky changed the sign to Completed
and I sat and felt good for the first time in a long time. A feeling of accomplishment and I guess a feeling that I had finally paid my respects to "My Brothers".
I walked home that day with my head held high and a wlight weight lifted from me. I still have a lot of work ahead of me but now I know that I can do anything I need.
You can go to our forum to read about the walk more and see all of the pics and movies. The link is Forum , stop in and say hello, if you have any ideas to help raise awareness please let us know.

My Morning Music and Walk Motivation

Rhapsody Playlist: "1. Red Skies - The Fixx
2. One Thing Leads To Another - The Fixx
3. Less Cities, More Moving People - The Fixx
4. Are We Ourselves - The Fixx
5. Stand Or Fall - The Fixx
6. Screen Kiss - Thomas Dolby
7. I Scare Myself - Thomas Dolby
8. She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby
9. Europa And The Pirate Twins - Thomas Dolby
10. Taxi - Harry Chapin
11. Sequel - Harry Chapin
12. Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
13. One Of Our Submarines - Thomas Dolby
14. Hyperactive! - Thomas Dolby
15. Saved By Zero - The Fixx
16. Gimme Back My Bullets - Lynyrd Skynyrd
17. That Smell - Lynyrd Skynyrd
18. Renegade - Styx
19. Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down