|WAW co-sponsored the New York State Marches for Peace! 10-day peace walk to Ft. Drum, Watertown, NY, on May 8-17, 2008. There were three feeder marches originating from Rochester, Ithaca and Utica. These feeder marches merged north of Syracuse and walked together to Watertown for 4 days arriving on May 17th -Armed Forces Day. Visit http://nysmarchesforpeace.org for more info.
|Here are excerpts from Paddy Lane and David Grodsky's reflection on the March. Their full report is found in the Blog section of the march web page:
Looking back on the three consecutive days that my husband David and I
spent with "New York State Marches to Ft. Drum" brings a great sense of
satisfaction. It was an extraordinary undertaking, and despite
occasional communication glitches and other to-be-expected hassles, we
felt it was an enormous success. ...
The size of our walking group varied from day to day. People would walk
with us for a few hours or for a day or for a week. Ages ranged from
babies in strollers to our oldest walker, a 79-year-old veteran of World
War II. On the morning of day 8 we were about 35 walkers; by the time
we reached Watertown early Friday evening we were about 60 strong as
more people, especially veterans, joined us for the final hours. In
addition to Iraq Veterans Against the War and our WWII vet, we also had
veterans from Korea and Vietnam. ...
Our somewhat nervous expectation was to find communities all across
upstate who were very supportive of the war and hostile to our
presence. We had planned security for the march carefully, as other
groups have been harrassed by organizations such as the Gathering of
Eagles. Members of Veterans for Peace - veterans of Vietnam and other
wars - had been called upon to accompany our feeder marches to help with
this. We were warned especially that when we came into Watertown, this
very pro-military community might give us a hostile reception.
Final moments, and beyond -
Friday evening and Saturday afternoon were times to come together, to
celebrate our joint effort, to listen to great bands, to eat and yak and
enjoy. Walk organizers spoke, Iraq veterans spoke. Crowds milled. Let
me quote a description of Saturday after people returned to the cafe,
written by someone who was there until the end: "Again, the cafe and
its attached arcade overflowed with peace activists and veterans of all
ages, talking, arguing, and generally enjoying the music. For the rest
of Saturday until well into the night, musical performances were
interspersed with short talks by Iraq vets and peace organizers. One
high point was when a Ft Drum soldier recited an anti war poem that he
had written for his soon-to-be-deployed soldier wife, as she sat,
holding their infant child, in the front row. . . After twelve hours,
the Drummer was host to a small group of Iraq war vets who gathered in a
circle, surrounded by civilian supporters, and pledged renewed efforts
to end this illegal and immoral war."
Now it is up to us to build on these ties, to forge these two
communities into an effective, mutually supportive force for change. I
am personally convinced that we will never get far toward changing our
country's lust for war until we begin this kind of transformation.