Video by Vietnam veteran Eric Herter from Brunswick. Day six of the walk from Rangeley to North Berwick. This day was from Lewiston to Gray.
Maine Walk for Peace
Ellsworth, ME to Portsmouth, NH
October 9-24 2015
From: Bruce Gagnon's Blog: Organizing Notes
Veterans for Peace: Reports etc
Friday, October 16,
Peace Walker Reunion Planned.....
Good coverage in local newspaper in the Midcoast of Maine today.
Article about Peace Walk protest yesterday at Bath Iron Works and
they printed our open letter to the president of the shipyard as
well. See them
Day Nine: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Buddhist Nun Arrives in Brunswick
We walked into Brunswick today from Bath and after arriving we looped through
the downtown area where we were able to hand out many flyers. Then we passed
through Bowdoin College which was having their annual 'parents day' so more
people than normal were around.
On Monday we've been invited to have some of our walkers speak to
students at the Friends School near Portland. This will be one of
two schools we will visit - the other at the New School in
Day Two: Sunday, October 12
Rangeley to Phillips
Second Day of Peace Walk
Our second day of the peace walk took us from Rangeley to
Phillips where local hosts have organized a three-soup pot luck for us. It is
more than amazing to see the beauty of the Rangeley lakes area and I can't wait
to come back to enjoy the nature in this place.
More Walk Photos
Quite a great walk from Rangeley to Phillips (the smell of the
pines trees was enchanting) and when we arrived were hosted to a great feed at
the local community center that back in late 1800's to early 1990's was part of
the local rail station that served as a stop for tourists who took the train to
Day 3: Monday, October 13
Phillips to Farmngton
Arrived in Farmington
We made good time to start the day doing three miles in 45
minutes rather than the usual hour - the early morning cold might have had alot
to do with it. All together we walked about 15 miles.
Day 4: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Farmington to Livermore Falls
The Magic of the Peace walk in Livermore Falls
We made it to Livermore Falls by about 4:00 pm - after our 8:30
am start this morning in Farmington. Several students from the University of
Maine-Farmington Amnesty International club joined us for the first nine miles.
They were strong walkers and helped carry our lead banner and signs. It was
good to have some fresh walkers as the regulars are all getting tired. Lots of
sore feet and blisters are now appearing.
October 14 - Farmington to Livermore
FARMINGTON - Led by a Buddhist monk beating a drum, the group of a dozen or more were greeted by the honking horns of passing motorists as they crossed Center Bridge on Tuesday morning.
Acknowledgement from the walkers carrying signs that said, "Bring our war $$ home," and "Fix broken Maine-no more war $" came with a wave as they continued along busy Wilton Road on their way south to eventually arrive in North Berwick.
This is the fourth year the Veterans For Peace members have organized a peace walk through Maine as a way to highlight the idea that an enormous amount of money is spent on military defense in the U.S., while basic infrastructure needs such as schools, roads, bridges and buildings, along with social services that help people continue to be under-funded. The group, which will grow in numbers to as many as 100 as it nears Portland, will walk between 15 and 30 miles a day.
The war-based economy creates fewer jobs than infrastructure fixes and largely "benefits weapons companies and we don't see an end to it," said Bruce Gagnon of Bath, a member of Veterans For Peace who has organized the annual Maine Walk for Peace and a Sustainable Future each year.
Using different routes through the state each time, Gagnon said this year's goal of the walk is to connect various communities that have become reliant on military production for jobs.
The group began their trek by gathering in Bath, where Bath Iron Works builds U.S. Navy destroyers. About 15 people, led by Rev. Senji Kanaeda of the Nipponzan Myohoji Temple Buddhist Order in Seattle, then traveled to Rangeley on Saturday where they were invited to a community supper with 150 people attending at the Rangeley UCC Church.
"There was a good discussion and singing. Senji sings beautiful spirituals," Gagnon said and added, "The reception was very good." The walkers spent the night at the church, as they often do as they reach other towns on their way south.
Rangeley was chosen as a stop as part of the estimated 165-mile walk, after it was announced this summer that it was one of four sites under consideration for construction of a $4 billion missile defense interceptor base. Also on the route is Saco, where General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical Systems was awarded a multimillion dollar contract to build gun barrel kits for the Army. The end point in North Berwick scheduled for Oct. 20, is home to Pratt Whitney, which has a $2 billion contract to build F-35 strike fighter engines, According to the group's website. Those military contracts taken together make up almost 10 percent of Maine’s gross domestic product.
Sunday night, the group stayed at the Phillips Area Community Center. A community supper and program was held that included music, with several local residents attending to participate in the discussion. Last night, a potluck supper was held at the Old South Church in Farmington and then the walkers stayed at area homes for the night.
Doug Rawlings of Chesterville, a founding member of Veterans For Peace, which now has chapters in every state and a few countries, said they hand out flyers to those along the route who ask why they're walking.
"Many are curious and ask, 'what is this,'" Rawlings said, especially when a yellow-robed monk beating a drum is leading the way. "For the most part, we've received very positive responses."
At about 8:30 a.m. the group representing a range of ages was joined by four University of Maine at Farmington students who are members of the Amnesty Club on campus. Signs were passed out and in single file they headed across Main Street and south towards tonight's goal of Livermore Falls.
Day 5: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Livermore Falls to Lewiston
Truckin into Lewiston
We arrived in Lewiston about 4:30 pm today - a hard 18 miles.
The first half was through the rural rolling hills and was lovely walking. Many
truckers flying by waved or blasted their horns. It seemed like today we had
more responses from truckers than usual. The last half of the walk was city with
much traffic, noise, impatient drivers and all that goes with it. A man on a
motorcyle had an accident right by us at one point and seemed to have been quite
injured. A traffic jam caused many cars to stop and he tried to change lanes
and clipped another car and then crashed onto the sidewalk just behind me. I'm
actually lucky I didn't get hit.
Day 6: Thursday, October 16, 2014
Lewiston to Gray
Rain, Bears & Doughnuts
Today we walked through rain for most of our 13 miles from
Lewiston to Gray. We shuttled about five miles in the middle to avoid a bunch
of road construction and a huge downpour. Since we arrived early in Gray our
folks are chillin at the local McDonald's, Dunkin Doughnuts or the small town
library for a couple of hours. I'm in the McCafe which has free Internet but no
electric outlet so my time is limited. (The motto here appears to be keep the
folks moving in and out - electrical plugs keep the seats filled for too long.)
Day 7: Friday, October 17, 2014
Gray to Portland
Video from the Peace Walk
Cars, Oil & Endless War
Walking along the road slows everything down. Today I noticed a bird at the
top of a tree on the other side of the road singing as we passed by. We heard a
big pack of dogs at a 'doggie daycare' howling as we went by - they were
pleading to come along with us but the chain link fence prevented their act of
solidarity. Four graceful and powerful horses moved in unison as they intently
watched us pass them by. We were hosted for lunch by an organic farm family
that gave us fresh tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, melons and a comfortable place to
relax under a warm sunny sky.
I know I must have missed some but you get the idea. There is no enterprise in
rural or urban Maine that is more pervasive than the automobile related
Day 8: Saturday, October 18, 2014
Day 9: Sunday, October 19, 2014
Portland to Saco
Peace Walk Arrives in Saco
We walked 17 miles today from downtown Portland to Saco where the
UCC church will host a pot luck supper and provide home stays for
all of us. Bob Klotz, a leader of Maine 350.org, did the first
three miles with us and took this photo. and some others that he
posted on Facebook.
Day 10: Monday,
October 19, 2014
Saco to North Berwick
Pratt-Whitney, North Berwick
October 20, 2014 - Images of the People
Home now after our big finish at Pratt-Whitney in North Berwick. We
walked from the UCC church in Saco where we were hosted last night in a supper
of more than 50 people....music by church members, great food, words and music
from walkers. Then this morning the church minister and his staff (about 7 in
all) walked nine miles with us. Walking with us too were a good bunch of
Veterans For Peace (VFP) members from Massachusetts so our walking line was
impressive - particularly with the white VFP flags.
Photos by Peter Woodruff
October 21, 2014 - More Walk Photos by Peter Woodruff