Maine peace walk continues from Farmington

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Carrying the Walk 4 Peace sign, Peter Cook of Starks carries the Walk for Peace sign followed by more than a dozen as they cross Center Bridge in Farmington on their way to South Berwick.
Peter Cook of Starks carries the “Walk for Peace and Sustainable Future” sign followed by more than a dozen participants as they cross Center Bridge in Farmington on their way eventually to end in North Berwick.
Brother Senji Kanaeda of the Buddhist Nipponzan Myohoji Temple in Seattle, leads the walk on Tuesday from Farmington.
Rev. Senji Kanaeda of the Nipponzan Myohoji Temple of Seattle, leads the peace walk on Tuesday from Farmington.

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.

Peace walkers cross  estimated 165-mile walk
Peace walk participants cross Center Bridge in Farmington on their way to Livermore Falls for the night. The estimated 165-mile walk, with much community discussion along the way, will end in North Berwick.

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.

See their schedule here.

Before starting the walk from the Old South Church in Farmington to Livermore Falls on Tuesday, participants of the Walk For Peace gather for a photo.
Before starting the walk from the Old South Church in Farmington to Livermore Falls on Tuesday, participants of the Walk For Peace gather for a photo.
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  1. Keep on walking…far, far away. This world will always see times of war. Peace is best, but war is inevitable. We need to stand up to the Hitlers, and terrorist fanatics of this world. There will always be wars and rumors of wars until the Prince Of Peace returns! Make Peace WITH God, and you will experience the Peace OF God, whatever happens in this old world!!!

  2. I always wonder what people like these marchers would have done on the eve of WWII…………when Europe was begging for help………ship loads of Jews were being denied docking and disembarking for asylum on USA shores………….because Americans emphatically did not want the USA to get involved in Europe’s problem with Hitler and the Nazi’s.

    I do understand the opposition to cold war era imbroglios that were strictly over ideological differences. Viet Nam, why send the cavalry to unseat a government and leadership elected by majority. On the other hand, meh, Pol Pot in Cambodia is a tougher sell than ol’ Uncle Ho.

    Here’s the problem with “No War” : 1.) Not all USA leverage and involvement in conflict equates “war”. 2.) when parts of the world….like Syria and Iraq……..have millions of displaced persons fleeing persecution, violence and human rights atrocities, it becomes a global concern, it effects all of us …even in humpty dumpty I believe in Unicorns rural Maine. 3.) Millions of refugees destabilize the countries they end up in. Millions of refugees are tradespeople, bakers, carpenters, accountants, Dr’s, Lawyers, Teachers, Mothers, Fathers, Children that can’t be doing the things they should be doing to live, contribute, and pursue sustainable lives with sustainable professions. 4.) Maybe the most important aspect: millions of children witnessing extreme horrors, living as refugees, not going to school, not learning the skills to become productive members of their countries….what happens when millions of children grow up displaced and with no education and future? …….this breeds another violent generation angry and desperate to gain something of security for themselves.

    Yes yes yes, I know, the old adage 2 wrongs don’t make a right—-well, how about this one…. marching with no war signs while millions suffer and die doesn’t make it right either.

    The intervention in violent conflicts in the world is very complex. It’s about leverage, it’s about negotiation. Unfortunately, when dealing with the Al Qaida’s, Assad’s, Isil, etc. They represent a profile that has no problem hacking up children, raping males and females children or adults. The only kind of leverage they respond to is the kind that seriously disrupts their agenda and activities. Really we are talking about money here, you have to get to them thru money but how you do that is multi-pronged. You have to cause them collateral damage, stop their supply, and yes, if it can be done strike with military force their key leaders, supplies, hide outs. These elements don’t stop doing what they are doing because you ask them nicely, they stop doing what they are doing because it becomes too difficult for them to keep doing it.

    I oppose some war and I support some war. I marched in NYC after 9/11 to OPPOSE Bush Cheney invasion of Iraq……because it was absurd—totally! I was at the time doing a good deal of business in middle east, familiar with the vibe on the street….and really, any Middle Eastern studies professor could have told you the same thing, had anyone cared to ask….. Saddam was not friendly with Bin Laden, He was not down with Al Qaida, he had no WMD’s…… he was a boozy old lunatic fascist dictator who definitely did not allow anyone else to set up competition on his patch.

    I think the saddest legacy of Bush Cheney-Iraqigate is that now people are dangerously isolationist….. sometimes when their is a bully on the playground beating up your friends and stealing their lunch money, sure ask nicely first, but when they punch you again in the nose get your Bad News Bears together and stop the creep.

  3. The people that participated in the walk have very good intentions but they live in a fantasy land and the veterans that participated should know this. They believe that we do not need to have a strong military and let organizations like ISIS run free and do as they please as they terrorize incent people and behead our citizens trying to further their cause. Freedom is not free it comes with a great price and if we are not strong we will be attacked from within and a whole lot more people will die. The question is are the people in this article ready to give up their freedom of speech that is afforded to them by the Constitution by having a strong military. ISIS will attack us if we do nothing, we need to hit them with everything we have so my daughter will never have to see that type of evil up close.
    As far as money for social programs if we stopped funding all the foreign aid to different countries we would have plenty of money to fund infrastructure projects that would create jobs for our people. The biggest organization we contribute to is the UN in which we give billions of dollars. We give money to governments that hate us and try to destroy our way of life yet we still throw money at them while our people are suffering here at home. If we really wanted to save money we would also limit welfare; instead of giving out unlimited funds to people restrict them to 2 years of benefits. We also should require them to volunteer or do public service work for the benefits they receive instead of giving them free money. We are becoming a welfare state were people would rather get handouts instead of working for what they get this needs to stop.
    I am a veteran of 19 years of service with three combat tours so I know what sacrifice and pain is. I hate war it is something I wish I had never experienced but better me than my girls or my friends. Without our military and the men and woman willing to make the supreme sacrifice we would not have the freedoms we have now.

  4. I’m curious about the group Veterans for Peace- if they are concerned now about how military dollars are spent, then do they refuse to accept any Veterans’ services that drive up military costs? Just wondering……..

  5. SFC Frank J Lambert: Very well said and thank-you very much for your service. Freedom is increasingly being taken for granted so thanks again for helping to defend it!

  6. Raymond Reddington: “I oppose some war and I support some war. I marched in NYC after 9/11 to OPPOSE Bush Cheney invasion of Iraq……because it was absurd—totally! ”

    Well said. But what keeps U.S. Administrations from doing this again?!?
    It’s easy to tell lies and whip up the appetite for a “righteous war”.

    Cheney’s Halliburton made BILLIONS in the latest debacle.

    “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.”

    Additionally, when the veterans return from their tours of duty, traumatized, horribly injured, alienated, drug-addicted, suicidal, why should they have to do battle again to get the benefits they were promised? Because the very people who sent them to the war front don’t respect their sacrifices. I say scrap the volunteer army and reinstitute the DRAFT; then you’ll see a reluctance to enter into armed conflict.

  7. It should be a requirement for all high school students to read ” All Quiet on the Western Front”, by Erich Maria Remarque. Especially anyone who is considering military service.

    I had a teacher, a man, back in 1965, who proudly told us that the war in Vietnam would be over by Christmas.
    In 1972, when I graduated from high school, it was still going on. Winding down- yes, but we were still fighting and dying there. Many, many times I have thought of him and of the schoolmaster character in Remarque’s story.
    We really are becoming like the world in Orwell’s 1984. Perpetual war. The opponents and the allies shift, but the war is constant.

  8. Please explain to me why you would not print my last post. I bet readership would be up significantly if you could try to be even slightly fair and balanced.

  9. It is bizarre that people are talking about Hitler and WW2. Those days are long over. Now the military is operating in the middle east, usually under thinly-veiled premises of “democracy” and “peace” when in reality, they are protecting oil wells.

    The US spends billions of dollars every week on its military. This is absurd, and that’s what this peace walk is about.

  10. Jon the study of societies and the psycho-social responses to conflict as well as the global economy—-really doesn’t change much in it’s skeleton– whether you are talking the Assyrians, Saurmations, Greece, Egypt, Rome, acient China and Japan, India—-the dynamics of large society and commerce really doesn’t change over the ages. We get involved in the middle east because of oil on one level, because of the melt down of some of these states and how that destabilizes other states. It’s not just that we want oil from them— because we get most of our oil thru Opec (aka Saudi’s) The world get’s it’s oil thru these channels—and we are not at a point yet where we can turn it off. F up your oil supply instant crisis in commerce of all sorts in all places. The dynamics of WWII psycho socially are very similar to what we have today –war fatigue from WWI no one wanting to see Americans go thru that again for foreign turf . Isolationist policy. Mounting threat and danger in our allied countries. Is a aplaybook ? No? Does it offer some warnings from past mistakes ? Yes.

    Here is the other reason oil in the middle east is more that just a commodity issue— Russia and Vlad the Im-putin-ent. Russia has signicant oil resources. Last year there was a meeting – between Vlad and Saudi Prince representing OPEC—Putin wanted in on OPEC for distribution of his oil. OPEC said no—–then Putin showed his real hand—- he uses Iran and Syria (now Ukraine but that’s a different pipeline) as pawns, their war and chaos becomes a leverage point for him to attempt to get what he wants from OPEC nations and the West. Iran and Syria both get supplies, arms, and protection from Putin. He is sitting with his hand on the faucet saying “give me what I want I’ll turn down the heat to those guys–don’t give me what I want …ha ha ha I’ll send an imediate shipment of ground to air missiles”.

    Thing is–no one trusts Putin. He is one serious chessmaster and absolutely ruthless, no one feels that giving him into Opec would actually stop his leveraging and bullying—it would be something else the next week.

    This is the unfortunate way the world works=—this is how checks and balances get played out.

    William Blake :” No man is an island unto himself”. Neither is any nation from ancient times to current times

    Actual News—— it behooves the public to do their own research. Particularly in the age of internet acess to research databases and university holdings etc. When Bush Cheney went into Iraq there were plenty of people desperately yelling STOP WAIT LISTEN!!!! NATO and the UN included! The info and intel was out there that this was highly dubious venture—-other than, it had been tru for a long time that Iraqi’s had a lot of people who really wanted to see Saddam ousted. Bush Cheney Iraq-gate is all about the 2 of them, and as you rightly point out, connections like Halburton. BUT— the American people lapped it up. They re-elected him durring the fiasco. The problem there is 50% people wanted to believe the Bush Cheney fairy story and follow along until it absolutely undeniably came out as a disaster on all fronts.—- But, to believe a completely different administration will do the same ? This is nonsensical—that’s like saying my brother Jimmy bit me so your sister Susie must be going to bite me too. —-The public should always do their own due diligence—don’t just watch fox news and Cnn…or only read DB…..Read foreign news, do a google scholar search on the topic- knock on the door of a professor in the field and say ” I have a question”– maybe they will need to make an appointment to meet you, but most of these people love to talk about their fields of expertise. I think it is true—the citizen should not rely on what the elected official says. The citizen should engage themselves, seek different sources and attempt to come to some feeling for the issues .

  11. good to see if nothing else they are getting some exercise, both physically and in exercising the rights some of them fought for, and standing up for their beliefs. a stark contrast to most of the chickenhawk armchair generals here at the bulldog comments section.

  12. Myopic– your name says it all. Armchair Generals? We actually have people commenting with real boots on the ground experience and knowledge of the issues. You can’t effect politics, policy unless you first dig for the facts. Sentiment and pithy ideals are nice, they may be very nice —but if you want action, you want change you’ve got to get down to the meat and from there build your case and steps to chance. Denying the facts and realities of the world…..just makes you myopic

  13. I also think it hypocritical the way people from this region will denounce war—yet support things like the baiting, trapping and hounding of bear for “economic” reasons. People that torture and exploit animals in this way—have a correlation to harming and exploiting humans as well. If you are going to promote peace…..try starting in your own backyards….

  14. “People that torture and exploit animals in this way—have a correlation to harming and exploiting humans as well.”
    That is a pathetically wrong and untrue statement. I would argue that just the opposite is true. The very same people right now who are supporting and pushing for this ban on baiting, trapping, and hounding because they feel it is cruelty to animals are the very same people and share the same side of the aisle as those who loudly and militantly push their support and approval of partial birth abortion.

    Go figure that one out…

  15. RR, you’re right about doing one’s own research, but too many just tune in to
    Fox News and let them shape the views that are then reflected here.

    By the way, get ready for what’s about to explode all over because of your anti-bear baiting stance. 1, 2, 3, …

  16. Well, now, as one of the organizers of the peace walk, I am very pleased by all these comments — one of our goals is to get people talking about war and its consequences. I won’t try to answer all of the objections I have read here because that would involve pages. Besides, I don’t like trying to speak to people’s motives for their beliefs as some of the correspondents above do on my behalf. Here are some core principles that I work from: 1). War is an absolute evil. No matter what foreign policies or global strategies someone can conjur up, there is no justification for premeditated, industrialized slaughter of other human beings. 2). We as humans are not biologically condemned to go to war. We are not hardwired to commit slaughter. War is a cultural phenomenon created by certain economic elites and then foisted upon people who are uninformed and/or so economically disadvantaged that they are willing to engage in it to supposedly advance their economic status. 3). War is inherently racist– combatants have to be convinced that the “enemy” is the “other,” a group that is essentially subhuman (the Hun, nips, gooks, hadjis, etc etc) that compels soldiers to commit the immoral act of killing. 4). Nonviolent direct action such as the peace walk is necessary for participants not only as a personally therapeutic action but also as a contribution to the community as a way to get us all thinking about what we are doing to others on this planet. 5). As a Vietnam War veteran myself, I am painfully aware of the many, many suicides being committed by veterans who are suffering from moral injury and PTSD. 6). Veterans For Peace seeks to abolish all war, just as we abolished slavery. Thank you all for your comments. Take good care, Doug Rawlings

  17. I read your tribute to the poet Henry Braun in the Daily Bulldog and offer my condolences for the loss, in spite of you still feeling his spirit with you.

    You honor him in continuing your activities for PEACE. May you be rewarded
    for carrying this vital message forward.

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