The first modern peace walk, like the one described here, went a thousand miles northeast starting in New Orleans. It was the lone walk of a Union soldier, in uniform and moneyless. The year was 1867. He depended on Southern forgiveness and hospitality; he bet on that and won his bet. That walk ended at the White House, where this walk held a vigil. That walk ended with Presidential hospitality; this one influenced a President to address the United Nations General Assembly. It had a lone walker, without support vehicles. This was a group, with vehicles (usually) and a central office in the Atlanta home of a tireless, determined US coordinator whose sometimes directorial role in support of the Japanese monks often made the American walkers fume. The Union sergeant walked alone. Also alone**, the nameless Peace Pilgrim walked along U.S. highways from the fifties, through the sixties, into the seventies of our time. Sergeant and Pilgrim both aimed at reconciliation between enemy nations -- in this case, after a bitter civil war; in her case, to prevent world war and to bring inner peace with outer. At the profoundest level, the walk taken by Andy Rector was like the walks of these two solitary healers. At almost every other level, its aspects were its own. It can safely be said that there are no peace walks of the past, there will be none in the future like that Nipponzan Myohoji-led walk of 1982, the southern branch of the final phase of their World Peace March. The March crossed all inhabited continents. Its goal was New York: SSD-II, the United Nations General Assembly's Second Special Session on Disarmament. Although those Nichiren Buddhist Monks -- accompanied by nuns and other Japanese and by North American, South American, European, and African walkers -- led five routes across the United State between October 1981 and June 12, 1982, the southern route gave by far the most programs, and it traversed much the most military-minded region. We believe the southern route interacted the most with local people and it appears to be the only route with a diarist who has come forward to publish -- and it is surely the only route whose diarist reports plainly, with calm or with pain, the group's intercultural dynamics -- with wry humor when not in a state of exhaustion (and often then). Apparently the southern route, alone, in self-protection expelled walkers for using drugs. The southern route, alone, received (unknown to the walkers) FBI protection. The southern route alone touched a plutonium plant, then a church on the Sunday when a plant physicist gave his sermon defending his work; the southern walk alone touched a city the day Pete Seeger sang of peace there; the southern route alone touched a city the day Dan Berrigan spoke at its "Celebration of Life" to remind it of nuclear death prepared, ready. Aside from an occasional baiting of military base commanders and a one-time carelessness toward peach farmers, the Buddhist monks' strategy recorded here was one of deep courtesy for all humans. This courtesy was the outward sign of their lives of total dedication to Buddhist precepts of caring -- with love and equanimity and frugality -- and of joy. I invite you to a wonderful read, as you embark on Andy's journey to contribute to the changing of the US peace movement in the South, a journey which culminates -- after his scores of speeches and hundreds of phone calls, after his getting kicked off the walk and returning to become its chief English-language spokesperson, after visiting two dozen military bases and ten dozen churches, Twin Oaks commune and the Naval Academy, after taking in a Senate hearing in Washington and a dumpster-salvaged meal there -- in changing his belief as to the level at which world peace must primarily be sought. **And also alone was Satish Kumar, walking in the 1960s from India to England, carrying no passport or money. Kumar too walked in the name of peace, described in his 1999 book Path Without Destination, having explained briefly in 1987 (http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC17/Kumar.htm).
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Here is a list of names of people discussed in the original text but not retained after outside editors cut it for publication. They range from hosts to Klan leaders: New Orleans: Jim Senter, Rita, Gail, Robert; Baton Rouge: Dave and Leslie Pitre, Phyllis Meole, Jimmy Pierce, Herb Rothchild; Albany: Bill Wilkerson; LaCombe: Michelle; Biloxi: Sr. Jean Harvey; Kiln: Jim, Earl; Moss Point: Molander family, Richard; Mobile: Bob Dylan, Jan Risse; Bay Minette: Jim; Brewton: president and dean of JDCC; Selma: Cheryl Robinson; Villa Rica: Faoso & Pat Akers; Douglasville: Norene Forest, Fr. Bob Fisher; Atlanta: Leslie Withers, Dion Lehrman, Trappist monk; Maxeys: Ron & Barbara Fisher; Augusta: Ellis Reese; Columbia: Bruce Pearson, John Rouff; Rock Hill: John & Grace Freeman, Winnie Daniels, Lynn Davidson; Durham: Glen, Rita (of Finland), Dannia Southerland; Chapel Hill: James Worthy and Jimmy Black; Raleigh: Sr. Evelyn Mattern, Marge Grabarek; Smithfield: Carolina Hubert; Norfolk: Francis (of L.A.), Rose Mary, Gen. William Westmoreland; Virginia Beach: Pam (coordinator), Mike; Richmond: Steve Hodges, Paul, Krishna, another Steve; Dumfries: Goby (of Europe); DC: Tom (White House vigiller), Sen. Charles Percy, Jeremy Stone, William Colby, Randall Kehler, Betts (of UCS); Crofton: Brian (of L.A.); Gibbstown: Jeff (of L.A.); Germantown: Virginia Langley, Igal Roodenko; New Brunswick: Grandfather David (Hopi); Brooklyn: Barbara Wilder; NYC: Ingrid Lechman, Peter Yarrow, Coretta Scott King, William Sloane Coffin, Cindie Punch (of N.O.), Rob Sauter (of Richmond). To see the context in which any of them is mentioned in Andy's original text, contact email@example.com(Carroll Webber, Jr.). He and his wife Edith Hill Webber cut and edited Andyís work, obtaining Andyís approval of the resulting text now on this website before his death at the age of 45 on April 18, 1994. The original 500+ pages of typescript from Andyís handwritten diary were prepared by Joan Hawkins Shier. PREFATORY COMMENTS from Pamela Blockey O'Brien Andy could introduce these comments as "I learned later" in the course of his daily narrative, as he did for June l0th, but the reader may gain by having them at the beginning. At the Asian Buddhist Conference in Ulan Bator, Mongolia the issue was raised: how can the nature of nuclear weapons and their effects be brought to their deserved awareness among the world's people? It was there that a Peace March was decided on, to cross all continents and raise consciousness along the way. At the Tokyo conference, the Nipponzan Myohoji volunteered to lead the March, most fitting in view of their order's peace vows and their agenda to show how Buddhism can help peace. Their including the southern United States as one of the final legs was natural, since they had experience from the1976 Continental Walk for Disarmament, but some crucial expectations were not realizable. On other continents they had found themselves honored, feted, greeted along the way by mayors, bishops, heads of state. But if they walked alone across the South, as planned at first, they would surely have been killed, in my opinion. As it was, their press in the States was extremely disappointing. While Sarvodaya was reporting their daily progress to Indians and other Asians, while Japanese periodicals carried the story, almost nothing appeared in the mainstream press here. Even the Christian Science Monitor blew their interview with Rev. Morishita. (CNN did, however, run a good interview.) When the Olympic torch was run across Europe, flown to New York, and run to the United Nations, the US press didn't report it. But Europe and Asia heard. In fact, portions of the Asian press reported from the daily journals that the monks' discipline demanded. Morishita's fame went unrecognized here, as well. Queen Elizabeth had been present when he opened the peace pagoda in her country. When he had wanted the march to cross the Sahara in 1981, this had been forbidden; he walked clear around it. The beauty of his character is apparent in Andy's accout. He was Honorable Fuji's perhaps most honored monk. I can only speculate as to why Rev. Yoshida was put in charge of the merged march in Washington. But the southern branch was considered the most important, with emphasis on the connections of poverty and racial justice with the arms race. But the Los Angeles branch was important too. It went through the terrible winter of 1981-82. It went through American Indian country, and the Nipponzan Myohoji feel the closest affinity with the Native Americans, as Andy has noted. St. Nichiren, the founder of Nichiren Buddhism, probably visited western North America! (There is a gap in his life, and a Lotus Sutra prayer in old Japanese was a treasured relic of a western nation, according to one of the monks who was astounded when shown it by a very old American Indian. "Your arrival was foreseen and signifies peace," the old man told him.) When planning their 1981-82 walk, the Nipponzan Myohoji organizers met leaders of AIM (American Indian Movement), and other Indian groups, as well as nonIndian leaders like the President of Costa Rica. In 1988, their UN SSOD-3 ceremonies included Russell Banks and other Indian leaders.
STEPS TOWARD PEACE, the diary of Andy Rector, Dec. 30th, 1981 to June 12, 1982 I had never before travelled over a thousand miles on foot, and it was to be in a group led by monks I hadn't met, showing banners to passing motorists, eating at strangers' tables, sleeping on their beds or on their floors or beside the road. The strangers were supposed to be friendly supporters of what our banners proclaimed -- yet those proclamations could disturb their fellow citizens, I knew. The highways we would walk traverse a region where live people noted for opposing our ideas, the ideas blazoned on our banners. Was this reputation deserved? How would motorists react? those who lived along the way? the police? our hosts whom someone had found? How would we walkers get along in forced intimacy, bound by politics -- and politics alone? The monks were Buddhists. Still, I had decided to experiment with six months of my life (Gandhi subtitled his autobiography My Experiments with Truth), and I was heading for New Orleans on a Trailways bus. December 30, 1981 I had boarded the bus in Durham at 8 p.m. to go to New Orleans to join the World Peace March. I had heard of this walk to the United Nations about three weeks earlier from a mailing of the North Carolina Peace Network and had talked with the NC state coordinator, Tim McGloin, several times before making the decision to join. During those three weeks I could not get the idea of the walk out of my head. I had recently quit my job as a social worker with a state agency for the blind in order to have more time to devote to peace and justice work. A march through the South attracted me as a way to talk with people about peace. I was also drawn by the fact that the march was being led by Buddhist monks from Japan. Who could speak of the effects of nuclear weapons better than the Japanese? It was also Buddhist monks who helped to shape world public opinion against the Vietnam War. Who could forget the pictures of monks who poured gasoline over their bodies and set themselves on fire? Also memorable was the image of Tibetan monks meditating for hours on end. (I was to have experience of that when we joined the group which walked from Los Angeles.) Walking such long distance also appealed to me as a personal challenge. Just last summer I had injured both ankles while hiking on the Appalachian Trail. I also have high blood pressure and am visually impaired. For sure, it would be an adventure! When I left Durham, I had no clear idea what to expect. Incidentally, this was a condition that persisted throughout the march, though perhaps not to the same extent. I did not know how many monks there would be. I had been told that there would be two reporters from Denmark, but not whether either the monks or the reporters spoke English or whether others would join for any length of time. I was a little apprehensive about my ability to speak before groups, to deal with the media, to take care of all the things that must be done on a daily basis -- especially if I were the only English speaker. Such anticipations were interrupted by conversations like this with a young black man. "Where are you going?" he asked, the usual opening. After he heard my story he expressed surprise: "You mean you paid $120 to ride on this bus for twenty-two hours to New Orleans and then you are going to get off and start walking back tomorrow?" I guess it did sound a little strange.
page 4December 31, 1981, New Year's eve in New Orleans. The warm weather coupled with the bus ride beside palms and beaches along the Gulf of Mexico had really lifted my spirits. Gary, a student and member of the local peace group, was at the station to pick me up. We drove to his home in the French Quarter where I met Dennis, a part-time house painter and part-time worker at a radical bookstore. The house was filled with bookshelves and there were more books and magazines piled on tables and stacked on the floor. After a big supper with two pots of strong coffee, we walked to the prayer vigil, arriving just as it was beginning. About 40 people were standing in a circle holding candles. A few other were handing out literature. I was introduced to the monks, Reverend Morishita and Reverend Sakamaki. The pair stood out among all the others in Jackson Square. Morishita, the older, wore a saffron robe and a pair of green running shoes. He was standing by a large sign that said, "NO EUROSHIMAS." Sakamaki was much younger, appearing to be a teenager. He wore sandals with his saffron robe. Both monks' heads were cleanly shaven. Sakamaki was holding a ten-foot aluminum pole with a long purple silk banner attached to the top. It was very windy and the banner was flying almost horizontally so that the large white Japanese characters along its eight-foot length and the bright red sun at the top were clearly visible. Later I understood that this was their prayer banner and the writing was their chant for world peace. The words which they were chanting alternately in loud voices were "Namu Myoho Rengekyo." I wondered what they meant. Since then I have learned that a Christian might best interpret them as: "I wish upon you the entire goodness of the New Testament. I give this to you with each step that I take." It is the refrain of the Lotus Sutra. It was New Year's Eve in the French Quarter and tomorrow was the Sugar Bowl Game. The streets were filled with college students and tourists, almost all drinking heavily. The air was charged with the sights and sounds of exploding firecrackers. Many people were already too drunk to be clear about what was going on and some of the tourists confused the monks with Chinese Maoists. A solitary middle-aged man approached the monks waving a bottle of cheap wine. He was so drunk that he could progress forward only by walking sideways. This progress was further slowed as he occasionally staggered backwards. But he finally arrived in front of Morishita. He was apparently trying to mimic the chant, but all he could manage was a drunken howl. After a few minutes, Morishita stopped the chant. He and Sakamaki bowed to each other three times, and then Morishita, smiling broadly, bowed to the howling man in front of him, shook his hand, and embraced him. The man broke off his howl, stared wide-eyed, then silently staggered sideways to a park bench. I saw him a half-hour later, almost unconscious. He would probably never recall the event, but it left a strong impression on me. The prayer vigil for peace had occurred in the rowdiest circumstances and had retained its dignity; my spirits soared. After the hour vigil ended, Gary, Dennis, and I celebrated the New Year in more conventional ways. We walked around the French Quarter, bumping into a few of their friends, and went to a relatively uncrowded piano bar where we listened to a young, blind Black man play jazz. After a few hours it was time for a party. Was it wishful thinking or the previous celebrating that made us believe that Gary's friend was having one? Not only was she not having a party, she had just gone to bed. It was eleven-thirty. But all the same, she was glad we came, and we had several hours of good conversation over the bottle she opened. When we finally got back to Gary's house after two a.m., we ordered a large pizza. I finally got to bed to try to complete five hours total sleep in two days. It was a restless sleep. What was starting tomorrow? An adventure? An ordeal? The monks knew some English: good. What did they know of American customs, of Southern customs? What more should I do before walking away from New Orleans? My mind churned and turned to the past. My body wanted to sleep; my mind went on, trying to piece together special events of my life that had led me -- in some ways compelled me -- here. An ironical aspect surfaced first. Soldiers carry flags; my twin Doug and I carried the American flags into church at the summer Bible schools at the Southern Baptist church. Later we raised and lowered the flag in our Key Club activities in high school. I smiled, remembering the "good citizenship" award I received in the graduation ceremony. I wonder whether I would have been asked to carry those flags if I hadn't been a twin. Twins are "cute" and adults like to put them on display. So people paid attention to what I said and did; I sensed early that I could have an impact on the world outside my family. That feeling has lasted. (A lot of adults have lost it.) I was an active church member as a boy -- both in Sunday school and in the choir. The Beatitudes mattered, and helped shape my ideals. Later, they still mattered and made me leave the church for a long time. One detail came back to me, lying half-asleep in Gary's bed. The minister of my small-town church had his personal plane but didn't know of any poor families who could benefit from food donations at Thanksgiving. During my high school years, the social protest of students was gaining national attention. I listened eagerly toBob Dylan albums. For a while, existential philosophy fascinated me, and I retain the powerful belief that I must take responsibility for all that I do. I entered UNC in 1967, hoping to continue studying politics and law. I had already begun in high school, had always been studious; our family had a strong work ethic. Though not really poor, sometimes both my parents had had to take paying jobs. Now my energy and drive went into student politics. Social issues were no longer addressed by the church, and UNC was alive with the challenges of the Vietnam war, racism, sexism, and multiple economic and social injustices. My great need to understand drove me into courses on contemporary issues and Latin American politics and American History. In a few years, I was in SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). The politics of the classroom was not just history and theory. The war went on and escalated. Social injustices cheated people of fully lived lives, and by the end of my senior year, my alienation with established social institutions had become complete. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa but didn't take the entrance exam to law school. After graduation I lived for a short time in a political commune near Selma, Alabama, which grew food for a free breakfast program in New Orleans. It was too isolated; also, I saw plants dying a few days after being planted. So I came back to North Carolina, worked one job after another until I found my vocation, social work. I went to graduate school and got a job with the Department of Social Services in Greenville. There I came across a lively peace group, the Greenville Peace Committee, some of whose members had been active peace workers for decades. Weekly meetings helped us support each other. I worked with blind and partly blind people for six years, finding them money and the right glasses, driving them to appointments and seeing that they got help for chores. But I grew more and more frustrated with the paperwork and bureaucratic decision-making, and the need to "be professional." Likely I was looking for more than any establishment job could offer. In 1981, I resigned to look for whatever that was. I hiked the Appalachian Trail, thinking, alone, of what I had learned about the world and myself. Now 1981 was over, and my search was about to continue with a group of Buddhist monks from Japan. At last I fell completely asleep.
page 5Jan. 1, 1982 Over breakfast Gary told me of the recent organization of the sponsoring group and the preparation for the march send-off. The disarmament movement in New Orleans is new. It started last Thanksgiving with the initiative and hard work of only three people. They began holding weekly prayer vigils on Sundays outside the cathedral at Jackson Square. In a short time the core group had grown to fifteen people, with many more supporters. They held lengthy meetings each night for the past week to ensure that the World Peace March would have a successful beginning today. One problem they had dealt with was the $500 fee the city originally demanded for the parade permit. Clearly such a fee was out of reach of the fledgling organization. Finally the city agreed to the march without fee or police escort. The problem of parade permits was to come up often, in many forms, between New Orleans and New York. At the gathering place, Gary and I saw that there was now a third monk. His name was Nagase and he had just arrived after getting out of jail in Europe, where he had been repeatedly arrested for "disturbing the peace" by praying outside a NATO meeting at The Hague. I was happy to find that all three monks spoke English fairly well. As we were assembling, six middle-aged men in business suits arrived for a counter-demonstration. They were members of Young Americans for Freedom. For half an hour the YAFers walked in a circle in front of the city hall. Sometimes they chanted, "Reagan, Reagan" (Ray-gun, Ray-gun) or "More Nukes, More Nukes!" They seemed like a parody of mindless jingoism and I failed, then, to sense that they were like us. They were earnest devotees of a cause. At noon we had a 15-minute prayer service to begin the walk. Morishita opened the service with the Buddhist chant: "Na-Mu-Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo.' Then Catholic Bishop D'Antonio blessed the walk and prayed for our safety and success. The service concluded with three minutes of silence in memory of the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then we were off, walking behind a large banner carried by two people which read, "World Peace March 1982, New Orleans-New York, Set the Dates for Nuclear Disarmament." This was followed by the Buddhist banner, carried by Sakamaki. Next came the other two monks, Morishita and Nagase, and finally the rest of the walkers. This was the order that we followed until we merged in D. C. with the walk from Los Angeles. I later learned that the very famous Trappist monk, Thomas Fidelis, had wanted to walk the entire distance and that Morishita had badly wanted him. But Thomas had been refused by his superiors. (We were to hear from him again in Atlanta, where he reapplied to join the walk.) The weather was warm with temperatures in the sixties and light rain. Most of us walked in shirt sleeves and shorts. We were in a festive mood. There had been about 150 people gathered at city hall to give us a big send-off and about 50 of them walked with us the first day to Kenner, about ten miles. As we walked along the sidewalk through the city of New Orleans, many people waved to us and asked us where we were marching. We would shout back, "New York" or "To the U.N." They would shout back: "Nah!", "You're kidding!" The monks and a few others were chanting. The rest of us walked behind, talking to new friends about the MX, cruise missiles, Greenham Common, verification. At our meeting after supper that night in Kenner, we took time to be sure we were all aware of the objectives of the walk. This was an interfaith walk in support of the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament. The objectives of SSD-II were three: first, to freeze the arms race; second, to set dates for steps ending with the total abolition of nuclear weapons; and third, to use the money currently being spent world-wide on defense (550 billion in 198l) to remove the causes of war, e.g. hunger, illiteracy, poor housing, inadequate medical care. It was necessary that one accept these objectives before joining the World Peace March. Also, it was necessary that one accept a fundamental feature of the means to these objectives -- non-violence. The long-distance walkers then discussed what non-violence meant to them. Though much practical information is available, there is no single blueprint on the practice of non-violence. We held a brief training workshop on how to stop violent acts, which we could encounter on the walk, without being violent ourselves. Our comprehension increased during the walk as we dealt with such acts and then talked them over.
January 2, Kenner to La Place Our spirits were even higher today than they were yesterday. The weather was still warm, with a little more rain than yesterday. There were only about twenty walkers left, including six preteens. We all helped their parents keep them out of the traffic. Our walk was more disciplined today as we walked two by two with less of the idle talk of yesterday. Several more of us have now picked up the chant. This day (I shall sometimes, as was seen above, copy from my diary and write "Today", "tomorrow", "yesterday", etc.) was the first day that the long-distance walkers began to get really acquainted. The three monks were Morishita, Nagase, and Sakamaki. The two Danish reporters, Neils and Carster, worked for an anarchist youth newspaper. Carole was a former teacher from Quebec. Mercury was from the Federal Republic of Germany. Clearly he was German, but he told others he was from Canada. He explained that he was tired of people asking him about Hitler. Two Americans finished the group: Julia, most recently from The Farm in Tennessee, and I. During the day six people, mainly vacationers, pulled off the road to offer their support. There were also a few hecklers who threw firecrackers at us from their cars. Many people knew who we were from of the broadcast on TV last night and the article in the New Orleans Times newspaper. The TV news actually gave better coverage to the YAFers than to us. The newspaper gave front-page coverage, but the article made us look like a bunch of college students on Christmas vacation, following cult leaders. It said almost nothing about disarmament or the United Nations. Clearly we had to improve our skills in relating to the media. Audrey, a college sophomore, met us at La Place and took us to her parents' home for supper. Neils and Carster stayed the night there to exchange news with the Danish-born grandfather and family. The rest of us spent the night in a vacant apartment, courtesy of Audrey's realtor mother. January 3, 1982, La Place to Gramercy Today's distance was only ten miles, but it was difficult because of the weather. A heavy rain last night continued through most of today. Yesterday we walked 17 miles. Most of us were not used to walking such long distances. My feet and legs ached so much that I had to sleep all night with my feet elevated. Today our feet sank in soft mud up to our ankles. Three of us were limping noticeably. The Center for Disarmament Education (CDE) had been unable to find housing for us in Gramercy, so we were transported to Baton Rouge for the night. We were grateful not to be sleeping in the mud of the roadside, but it was a little discouraging to make the hour trip knowing that early next morning the same church activity bus would return us to Gramercy to begin a two-day walk over the same distance. We were skiers riding the chair-lift down as well as up the hill. January 4, 1982, Gramercy to Gonzales Thankfully, the weather cleared and the temperatures were once again in the 70s. A family from Baton Rouge joined us for the rest of the walk through Louisiana. Jack and Mary Jane Smith, both anti-war activists in the sixties, brought their children -- ten-year-old Penny and six-month-old Natt -- with them. This assured that the number of walkers for the next week would be at least 17. January 5, 1982, Gonzales to Baton Rouge We woke up to a heavy frost with ice on the windshield. For the first time we wore coats, hats, and gloves as we started out -- all except the monks, that is. They took off their coats when we began to walk, explaining that it is the mind that gets cold, not the body. They walked in temperatures as low as five degrees with no outer clothing but their robes. Sometimes during breaks you could hear their teeth chattering. It was then I began to understand that the monks viewed the peace march as a prayer for peace, characterized by rituals that must be observed. When we arrived in Baton Rouge, just in time for our first official press conference, we met our state coordinator, Loris Wimberly, and a few of our other hosts. Brad Ott, the New Orleans facilitator, and I were to stay with Charles Briggs, a philosophy professor at Louisiana State University. The Center for Disarmament Education had arranged two talk programs for us tomorrow: one on TV at 6:00 a.m., the other on radio at 3:00 p.m. Neils agreed to do the early morning program, as we thought that people would be interested in hearing about the European disarmament movement. Carole and Mercury were asked if they would like to do one of the programs. Carole said she would go, but that she would talk about something "positive" like meditation or vegetarian diets. She would not talk about nuclear weapons because this would create "negative energy" in the universe and thus help to bring on a nuclear war. Loris looked at me, and I volunteered to do the afternoon program. January 6, Rest day in Baton Rouge Today I learned that the planners of our five and a half month schedule had made a distinction between "rest days" and "total rest days." Total rest days were those in which no activity had been planned. Rest days were those in which we did not walk, but other activities (speaking, vigils, press conferences) were planned. Today was definitely just a rest day. I got up early to see Neils on the 6:00 a.m. show. The interviewer asked: "Aren't you glad this isn't mosquito season?" "Isn't it boring, walking along the side of the road all day?" Without sharp questions on issues, the best Neils could do was to respond, "It is never boring when you are working for peace." Seeing this interview, I decided that I had better be prepared with statements for the half-hour radio interview this afternoon. I spent most of the morning preparing notes on the history of the arms race, effects of nuclear weapons, and social effects of military spending. After this, I went to a nearby store and bought a dozen sheets of poster paper. Brad and I spent the better part of the afternoon making picket signs. About the middle of the day, Brad was finally able to get in touch with our route coordinator, Pamela Blockey O'Brien, at her home in Atlanta. Pamela expressed concern about the YAF activity on the first day of the walk. She had heard that the YAF and the "Moonies" had entered into an alliance and there was reason to believe that they had plans to disrupt the walk physically. She also said that arrangements were still not complete for support vehicles for us through Mississippi. She suggested that we consider buying little red wagons to put our gear in and pull behind us. I tried to imagine that scene. Brad and I agreed to keep the telephone conversation to ourselves, at least for now. No reason to needlessly alarm others. My host drove me to the radio station, which turned out to be a top-40 AM station. When we arrived, the news director told me that the program had been cancelled. But they would still like to do a brief interview for their news. That was fine with me. After a potluck supper, we walked to the church at LSU for an interfaith service, the first one I had ever attended. I was impressed with the different faiths represented. I also liked Loris's address, "It will happen. I know it will happen -- if we don't stop it."
January 7, Baton Rouge to Walker Crossing the 100-mile mark today was a big psychological boost. But the weather was once more the main event. At noon it turned very cold, and heavy rain began to fall. Most of us, including me, had no sweaters or rainwear over our T-shirts and all our gear had been sent ahead to the church where we were to spend the night. Oh well, it's all in the mind, right? We were closely watched by police all day. The paddy wagon must have passed us 15 times. They stopped three times to remind us to keep off the road, even though we had not been walking on the road. As we crossed the bridge into the next county, there were more police cars and detectives waiting to greet us. After questioning us for a while, they gave us permission to continue. We would have continued anyway. Lunch was a surprise. Instead of the almost daily peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and potato chips, we had two gigantic pizzas, while the Japanese had Japanese food. The pizza was donated by the manager of a local pizza restaurant who had seen Neils on TV and liked what he said. The Japanese food was donated by the monks' host, who was Japanese herself. We ate this luxury fare under the shelter of an abandoned service station. When our day's walk was over, we still had a 20-minute ride in the back of a truck. We covered ourselves with plastic as well as we could for protection against the cold rain, had a big group hug, and sang songs to stay warm until we got to the church with its warm space, dry clothes, and pots of hot soup and vegetables. Then there were teenagers to talk with about the arms race. January 8, Walker to Albany This was such a day of contrasts that it is hard to believe that it all happened in just fourteen hours. We left Walker with a send-off from the church members and with a group photo and interviews by the local weekly. The small daily and weekly newspapers often gave us the best coverage and wrote the best in-depth articles on disarmament, whereas big city newspapers almost ignored us. For example, the Atlanta Journal gave us brief coverage in the comic section; the Charlotte Observer ignored us completely. So much for help from the liberal big-city press! The walk was fairly uneventful in the morning and mid-afternoon. Shortly after the afternoon break, however, we heard a shot fired. Or was it just another firecracker? Several had been thrown at us, so none of us thought much of it. But during the break, Sakamaki went to the door of a nearby house to ask to use the toilet. We saw the man motion toward the woods across a field and Sakamaki start in that direction. Then one of the children, who had gone ahead, ran back saying that the man had a rifle. When we all hurried toward the house, the man went back inside and Sakamaki shouted, "Don't come! Don't come!" We cut the break short and got out of there as quickly as possible, with Mary Jane and me carrying the banner in front. Within five minutes, a county sheriff's deputy pulled up to investigate. I explained to him that we were walking to the UN, that we were staying at a Baptist Church in Albany, and that we were leaving town in the morning. I gave him some of our literature, which he glanced at and then said, "I guess it's all right." It was about 4:30 and near dusk when we reached the town limit of Albany. People were leaving their jobs at the factory. Soon a caravan of a half-dozen pickup trucks and cars filled with young white men was driving up and down the road. Another shot was fired in the air as we entered town. The deputy was parked at the first Baptist church which we came to. This was evidently the "white" Baptist church. We had not told the deputy that we were staying at the "black" Baptist church. When we walked past the church, one of the passengers in the caravan got out of the pickup and into the deputy's car, which then joined the caravan. Some people were heckling us and driving through the walk, trying to hit people. In fact, one car brushed against one of the Danish reporters. The fact that the deputy had joined the caravan made the threat of violence much more real. Mary Jane was close to tears with worry about her children. An old Oldsmobile with New York plates skidded across the gravel parking lot to the front of the walk. One of the passengers shouted, "What are you, Iranians or what?" I gave them one of our pamphlets and responded, "No. I'm from North Carolina. Where are you all from?" Later we would find it humorous that they misunderstood the Buddhist peace prayer. They thought we were saying "Long live Khomeini!" Afterwards we learned that a major faction of the KKK was centered in Albany. The last walk to go through Albany was a civil rights march in the late 60's. It took two hundred National Guardsmen to get them through safely. Now we came through Albany with no advance knowledge of the situation, with no police protection, and with the Klan thinking we were Iranians. While I was waiting my turn for a shower at Hammond Vocational Rehabilitation for the Mentally Retarded, I talked with some of the residents in the TV room. Soon many people were gathered around my table. They could not believe that we were actually walking to New York. Then we began to talk some about war and peace. They talked more sensibly than many college students we met. Most of them wanted to walk with us the next day, which was Saturday. They were adults in their twenties and thirties who, the state said, were responsible adults and employable; yet they were not allowed to walk with us because the center had no liability insurance in case they were injured. All of us knew that they could not walk with us, and why. For a brief period our eyes could not make contact. A festive mood returned as we entered the dining area to eat a gigantic cake which the staff and residents had baked and decorated with "Peace" in large letters. After the cake was eaten, we all joined hands and sang many peace songs, ending with "So Long, It's been Good to Know You." Hammond was a happy contrast to the ordeal of the Albany Klan. But the day was still far from over. We returned to the Baptist church for a potluck supper and meeting with the congregation. We learned that members of the black Baptist church and the Catholic community had fasted and prayed for our safety today. Sister Dorothy discussed the problem we had had with the Klan today with the director of the Hammond School. He called the state highway patrol for a guarantee of our safety. Members of the black community had also heard of the incident. They told us not to worry because they would keep watch. "No Ku Kluxers will come here tonight. They know better." After everyone had gone home, we decided it was best if we had a meeting among ourselves to discuss the day's events. At this meeting it became evident that although we were all pacifists, our ideology and methods were different. This was the first time that we met as an entire group to discuss problems and strategy. It set the precedent of any member being able to call a meeting to discuss matters which concerned the Peace March. We were a small group and decisions could be made in open discussion. Of all thebranches of the Peace March that converged on New York this year, ours had the most democratic decision making. On the other walks decisions were made with little or no input from the non-Japanese walkers. For our meeting we sat on the floor in a circle. Mercury began by producing a feather, evidently a tradition of such meetings in British Columbia, where he and Carole had been living. Only the person with the feather could speak. If interrupted, you said, "I have the feather." When you finished speaking you gave the feather to whomever you wished. This served to keep order without the need of a chairperson and set the pattern of equality among all members.
January 9, Albany to Ponchatoula The weather was still extremely cold today. All of us seem to be a little down, perhaps the result of the emotional drain of yesterday. January 10, Ponchatoula to Mandeville Again it was very cold and windy. My chest cold had progressed to body aches and a fever. Cindie, another walker, had the same symptoms. We walked on anyway. The walking was fairly unevent-ful. We walked along an isolated stretch of highway with almost no houses and very little traffic. At noon we huddled together behind an abandoned service station to stay warm. For the past three days, we have had cold rice for lunch, left over from the big pots Carole and Mercury got up early to prepare for breakfast. Morishita was constantly smiling and doing things to make us laugh. While we were huddled in the weeds over our small bowls of cold rice, we looked over at Morishita who was wrestling with a collie almost as big as he was. The two of them were tumbling on the ground as if it were a sunny summer day. "It is the mind that gets cold, not the body." Whether it was the mind or the body after all, I still felt miserable when we arrived at the church. It was locked, and the minister could not come to let us in for another hour. But we found helpful people everywhere. The manager of the supermarket next door came to talk with us and then offered warm space in his office. Cindie and I quickly took him up on the offer, though it was only after the church was opened and we had wrapped ourselves in blankets for a while that we finally stopped shivering. We were also warmed by the gigantic meal the people of the church fixed for us. January 11, Mandeville to Lacombe Our number was down to a core group of nine. It was hard to say goodbye to the walkers from New Orleans and Baton Rouge who had been with us for the first 150 miles. We will especially miss the children, whose cheerfulness and constant activity kept our spirits high. They were especially attracted to the monks, climbing all over them during the breaks and playing games in the evening. Last night about 2:00 a.m., a couple of police cars pulled up to the church. They thought we had broken in and would not be satisfied until they had called the minister. This morning we had walked less than a mile when another Mandeville police car pulled up. This time the police wanted to check everyone's identification and passports. This was when we learned that Mercury was in the country illegally. He told the police that he was Canadian and that his passport was in the truck along with the rest of our gear. Everyone else's identification checked out okay and the police let us go, warning Mercury to carry his passport with him at all times in the future. Just then Julia drove up in the support van. We quickly waved her on ahead and started off again. Mercury viewed himself as a world citizen and did not bother himself with such things as passports to cross artificial lines drawn across the globe. When we arrived at Holly Retreat, the Catholic retreat house where we were to spend the night, I had some time to walk around the grounds by myself. I was struck by the obvious similarity between the Catholic and Buddhist monks. The host monks were chanting their prayers in unison in Latin while the guest monks chanted together in another foreign language. One group chanted in the sanctuary and the other in a guest cabin, but they recognized each other as co-workers. During the evening we had good conversation with a priest about the activist role taken by Jesuit priests in Central America. Later he taught Mercury, who was a good guitarist, a few Catholic peace songs, including the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. We were also joined by Michelle, a local newspaper reporter. She spent about an hour interviewing a few of us individually, and expressed regret that she had not known of the walk in advance so that she could have arranged time off to walk with us. Later in the evening we called Pamela to get our schedule for the next few days. We got it and more information. Because of the incident in Albany and the lack of police protection there, Pamela had called all the mayors of the towns in Mississippi that we would walk through, asking for guarantees of our safety. She told them of the international reputation of the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist monks and that they had walked through Europe, the Soviet Union, India, Africa, and Central America without injury. She received positive responses from every town official. Tonight I slept in a bed for only the second time since I left New Orleans. January 12, Lacombe, Louisiana, to Kiln, Mississippi (by car) We woke up to the worst winter storm in the Deep South in sixty years. The ground and trees were covered with sleet and freezing rain. The major highways were closed. The water pipes in the cabin were frozen when we arrived yesterday. Now the electricity had gone out overnight. To make matters worse, Mercury had turned the gas heat off during the night. It was too hot for him, used as he was to Canadian winters. Of course, the rest of us were freezing when we woke up. We were unable to get the stove going again. Some people wanted to walk, regardless of the weather, but there was the problem of transporting our gear. The Catholic Sisters in Kiln were our state coordinators and also our hosts for tonight. They had already tried to come for us, but after a minor auto accident on one of the bridges they decided to go back. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we would just have to spend the day where we were. Some of us were sick and all of us were tired and out of synch. Neils and Carster were speaking in Danish. Carole and Mercury were using French. The monks were talking Japanese. Julia, who was facilitator for the week, was on the phone calling all our facilitators and coordinators. And I was wrapped up in bed, coughing my head off. This morning was definitely one of the low points of the walk. Then help unexpectedly arrived. A minister from Slidell arrived with 15 shrimp po-boy sandwiches for our lunch and an offer to arrange transportation for us to Kiln. In another hour three more drivers arrived with another surprise. They had picked up Shima, a 35-year-old construction worker from Tokyo, at the airport. His relatively long hair identified him as a lay person, not a monk. He had left his wife and two young children with her sister in order to walk for disarmament for five months. His English was hard to understand at first and one of the other Japanese often had to translate for him. We quickly got our gear loaded and were driven to Kiln. Our coordinator in Slidell, the " Spears into Pruning Hooks", had given us help when we really needed it and got nothing from us in return -- the meeting scheduled there had to be cancelled. The sisters' convent in Kiln had burned down a few months earlier. They had made arrangements to stay overnight with friends so that we could stay in the trailer that was now their home. The storm had knocked the utilities out in Kiln also. The trailer had little heat and was lighted with candles. People soon started coming into the trailer bringing food for the potluck supper. The electricity came on when we had formed a circle to give thanks. After supper we went to the Catholic church for an interfaith service. The temperature had finally gotten above freezing, but it was still raining. In such weather forty people came out from this small community to participate in a peace service with us. Afterward the trailer was full of people, standing among backpacks and suitcases, drinking hot coffee or tea and talking intensely about the need for disarmament.
page 9Today it was evident that personal antagonisms were developing among the walkers. Cliques were forming. Neils, Carster, and Julia stayed to themselves most of the time. Carole and Mercury were already a couple when they arrived. I tried to moderate the antagonisms by calling a meeting and getting the feelings out into the open. It was not surprising that some antagonisms would develop. After all, we were people from different cultures, had been put together for the first time less than two weeks before, had walked over 150 miles, were tired and even physically sick. The only thing that we really knew we had in common was that we were all pacifists. Even then, we approached pacifism from different perspectives. Some thought that peace would be obtained on the political level, others concentrated mainly on the spiritual level, while still others thought that the individual level was the most important. However, we did realize that all three approaches were necessary. The meeting lasted for three hours, with some bitter personal attacks. People were accused of being power-hungry, of being lazy, of not smiling enough. But at about l:00 a.m. it seemed that tensions had been eased somewhat. We formally welcomed Shima to our group.I wondered what went on in his mind this first day with us. January 13, Kiln to Gulfport This was a very good day, especially in contrast to yesterday's chaos. Breakfast was at the cafeteria of Annunciation School (elementary), where a nurse took our blood pressures and found them all normal -- a happy surprise. Two city policemen sat in a corner and did not talk or eat with us. They said they were our protection. At 8:30 we were taken to the auditorium via a hallway lined with students, who applauded and reached out to shake our hands. One of the sisters introduced us, the monks chanted their prayer, and then I asked the students to write the United Nations requesting support for the Second Special Session on Disarmament. Sister Jean Harvey, who was also our Mississippi coordinator, gave us $10 which the students had raised in a "peace" bake sale. She told us that they would hold another bake sale soon to raise money to buy us shoes. We left town escorted by a police car with lights flashing and sirens blasting, though there was absolutely no traffic on that country road in the early morning. Soon a middle-aged black woman came up to give us $2.00 in change. She had been waiting by the side of the road for over an hour. Words fail. But to keep a proper balance of light and dark, it was raining, the temperature was just above freezing, and I was hit in the leg by an orange thrown from a passing car. Two people from Kiln joined us for the day, Jim (a seminary student) and Earl (a veteran). Earl wanted to carry our banner in front, but could manage only a short distance because of a shoulder wound received in Vietnam. He explained his presence like this: "I tried the government's plan for peace once. It doesn't work." Supper was at the upper-middle class home of one of the church members. We arrived late in the afternoon, cold and wet, and were made welcome. Our wet rainwear was hung in the garage and wet clothes were washed and dried. Neighbors brought over hot dishes and a tremendous feast was laid before us. Although only a few of them joined us in supper, all the food was eaten. (Our hosts throughout the walk were amazed at the amount of food we ate.) Only one of the expected reporters arrived, but she stayed for two hours, interviewing almost everyone. January 14, Gulfport to Biloxi It was still cold today. There was a light snowfall last night. At the end of the day, we had walked 186 miles, but we were less than 100 from New Orleans thanks to our backtrack to Baton Rouge. Not all of us could get into our support car for the morning break and lunch. The friendly Biloxi city policeman let the rest sit inside his car to get out of the wind and rain. Seeing Nagase in the police car reminded Morishita of the time he (Morishita) had been arrested for disturbing the peace by praying outside a NATO meeting in Madrid. In jail he promptly began a prayer fast ("We do not take food from our captors"). He continued beating his drum and chanting until the police took his drum. Then he simply chanted. The Nipponzan Myohoji are well respected in Europe and Asia for their peace work. Soon the Spanish government was receiving a lot of telegrams demanding, "Why do you have these monks in jail?" The monks were eventually released and driven to the Portuguese border under the watchful eye of Spanish soldiers with machine guns. All this as a result of praying for peace outside a meeting where Western European military leaders sharpened their ability to make war. Our coordinators in Biloxi, people from the World Community House, drove us to the beach across from the hotel where Senators Stennis and Thurmond were speaking about preparedness. It was windy and we had to shield our candles with our gloved hands to keep them lit. The only other "local" person to join us was a forty-year-old, self-described "railroad bum". A few of us listened to his complaints while the monks continued praying. He asked us to try to do something about the terrible food that is being served in Salvation Army kitchens. (Later we were to have a meal there ourselves.) Tonight, however, we were more concerned with whether Thurmond and Stennis even knew we had been there. We could not get close to the hotel, which was on private property. A few of us stayed up to see what kind of coverage we got on the local TV news. At the end of the half minute film clip, the anchor smiled and said, "Hare Krishna." We were shocked. What did he say? Did he say `Merry Christmas'?" "No. He said `Hare Krishna.'" We called the newsroom to find out why . The literature we gave them and our interviews clearly stated our purpose and identified the leaders as Buddhist monks. They wouldn't correct the error, saying the report itself was correct. It was only that the anchor had departed from it at the end. January 15, Rest Day in Biloxi I spent the entire day writing letters. January l6, Rest day in Biloxi The second rest day in Biloxi was a little different from the first. We found out that yesterday some of the local radio newscasts had picked up on the TV news. So now the radio stations were telling the Biloxi area that the Hare Krishnas were marching through the city. The only event we had planned was a two-hour photo display in one of the shopping centers. The twenty photo-panels showing the effects of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki stood out among the other booths, which featured arts and crafts. There were many people there this Saturday afternoon, but with several military bases in the area it seemed that most of them were military and their families. Immediately we were identified as Hare Krishnas. We sent two people ahead of the display explain that we were not Hare Krishnas and we were not asking for money. Behind those two we sent two more people to hand out leaflets and explain that we were walking to the UN. We got 50 signatures on our petition for disarmament. Several people wanted to sign but feared to because they thought they would get into trouble if their superior officers found out. Some enlisted men signed anyway. One young enlisted man walked around the mall for almost an hour before getting up the courage. We were extra-grateful for every signature we got in Stennis's area. This was territory sacred to the military.
page10January 17, Biloxi to Gautier In the morning we called the police to ask for an escort as specified in our permit. Two cars picked us up. Then a third car arrived and waved the other two off. It was the policeman who had let us take shelter in his car from Friday's cold rain. At the break he told us that he had heard over his radio that cars had been assigned, and called in to volunteer to escort us. At the afternoon rest stop, a young man pulled off the road to talk with us. He had read about us in the paper and come out specially. Just this week he had been discharged from the navy because his father had a stroke and he was needed at home. He told us he had been aboard a submarine. Every day for three years, he had lived in fear that he would be asked to push the button that would start the nuclear war. January 18, Gautier to Moss Point Today was beautiful with temperatures once more into the 60s. We were joined by a few people from St. Mary's Catholic Church. So far about 300 people have walked with us. We arrived at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Moss Point around noon and had the rest of the afternoon off. It was my turn to wash clothes, which took almost all afternoon but gave me the opportunity to have long conversations with Father Jim Taylor, owner of the washing machine. Since we had gotten a lot of donations recently (including $105 from the children's second "peace" bake sale), Morishita asked me to be the group's treasurer. There was to be strict bookkeeping, showing the source of each donation and the amount of each expenditure, including postage stamps. Money spent on our personal needs came out of our own pockets while legitimate expenses for the walk came out of group funds. Many people attended the prayer service tonight and treated treated us like celebrities. After the service most of the children asked for our autographs. It was difficult to get adjusted to this role and to being always watched. After the service we noticed that Julia, Neils, and Carster were gone. We suspected that they had gone out to drink a few beers. They returned around midnight, waking everyone including Father Taylor. January 19, Moss Point to five miles past the Alabama line Carster and Julia did not walk today, but 25 other people joined us, mostly to walk to the state line. The majority were junior and senior high school students. The editor of the high school paper was diligently interviewing people all morning. A young black man was standing by the road at one point trying to hitch a ride to Mobile. He had been to Biloxi looking for work, without success. After talking with Neils for a while, he decided to walk with us the rest of the day. Our support vehicle gave him a ride home at the end. He said he had never thought much about the threat of nuclear war before, but talking with Neils convinced him that the threat was real. Sister Mary Richards and others from Kiln were waiting at the state line to say goodbye to us. The walkers from Gautier and Moss Point also had to leave us at the state line. But waiting to greet us were our Mobile coordinators, Diane and Jeannette. They brought mail. A letter from Pamela, our overall coordinator, provided me with the names and addresses of state coordinators so that we could have mail forwarded there. She also gave us instructions on how to rest during breaks, e.g., lie down. We were picked up fourteen miles outside Mobile and driven into the city to stay in a former convent, now used as the office of a Catholic social service agency downstairs and for short-term housing upstairs. There were bunk beds in each room and we would be spending three nights there. Morishita, Mercury, and I had taped a 45-minute interview with the student radio station of Spring Hill College, a Roman Catholic school with about a thousand students where we were to speak in two days. The interviewers warned us that the college was very conservative, that few people would come to hear us and fewer would support us. Later Carster and Morishita got into a loud argument because Carster had not walked today. Carster said his feet hurt. Morishita believed it was because he was out late last night. January 20, from near the state line to Mobile Today was another beautiful sunny day. We walked eighteen miles to arrive officially in Mobile. We had very good media coverage in the Mobile area: yesterday three newspapers and today two TV stations. The coverage was sympathetic. January 21, Rest day in Mobile We had a program tonight at Spring Hill College. This was our first that was not either a prayer vigil or an interfaith service. The program had been arranged only two days ago, but it was well publicized on the campus. Our group went to the student cafeteria for supper and got into lively conversations with the students, almost before we sat down. One asked me pointedly, "I mean, what do you all do besides demonstrate? Do you just walk up and down the road, demonstrating?" Our program was at eight. Morishita read a statement from the address of the Most Venerable Fuji, who initiated the World Peace March, and gave background information on the walk. Using the notes I had prepared for the radio interview in Baton Rouge, I presented a history of the arms race and the effects of weapons. Then Neils followed with a discussion of the European disarmament movement, including an anti-nuclear poem he had written. For a first program it was excellent. The room was completely filled with almost 100 people. This represented about ten percent of the students at this "conservative" college. More than ninety people signed our petition. Only a few people asked hostile questions about "Communist aggression in Central America" and the like. The program was over at ten, but Neils and Carster stayed behind to talk with some of the students. They came back at 2 a.m., really drunk, and woke us all up banging on the locked door.
page 11January 22, Mobile to Stapleton Last night I found out that Diane Hampton had recently lost her job as a social worker with Catholic Social Services, partly as a result of her work for the peace march. Early last month, Morishita came to Mobile to help Diane prepare advance work for the march. While he was there, he was interviewed by a reporter for a local newspaper. Though the article was well written, the headline created a controversy which contributed to Diane's dismissal. It read, "Christians support Buddhists." Evidently, many people just read the headline. The next few days, there was a lively debate on a local AM station talk program. The issue of disarmament was not debated so much as whether Christians should support Buddhists. This morning, we gathered at a downtown park at 8 a.m. for a half-hour rally with songs, brief speeches, and a reading from the Bible by Reverend Jerry Turner. About fifty people attended. All of us then walked six blocks to another small park to observe ten minutes of silence for the victims of war. Six of the Spring Hill College students joined today's walk. Brian, a sophomore political science major, was making plans to drop out of college this semester in order to walk with us to New York. First he had to check out the student aid situation to see whether he could get his scholarship renewed next fall. Also, it would take a few days to talk with his instructors and close out the courses. We encouraged him to take more time to consider his decision. Morishita, Nagase, Sakamaki, Shima, and I were driven to L'Arche to spend the night. L`Arche is a community for the mentally handicapped, which was founded in France. L'Arche gave people who had been wards of mental institutions almost their entire lives a "normal" life in a family setting. They worked in sheltered employment, helped cook supper, and then washed dishes after the meal. I had been extremely impressed with l'Arche, and have now worked there a number of years. January 23, Stapleton to Bay Minette We stayed at a gym at a junior college in Bay Minette. Although it was Saturday, students were waiting to help us unload our gear into the gym. Three students from Spring Hill College came with letters for Julia, Neils, and Carster. No one knew where the trio was. The letters were left with Mercury until the three came back. This is important because later we learned that the envelopes contained marijuana. January 24, Bay Minette to Atmore We walked eighteen miles, mostly through pine forests. In the morning, we were harassed by a county deputy. "We know who you are, and we are keeping an eye on you." In Atmore, we were joined, for three miles, by two young black women. Diane and Jeannette were still our coordinators, and they also drove our support vehicle. In the morning, Diane stopped at a small gas station to see whether it would be all right for us to take our fifteen-minute break there. The manager asked whether we were a "mixed group." Diane, pretending she didn't know what the woman meant, said there were both men and women. The manager persisted: "Are there any coloreds?" Finally she gave us permission. But now we refused. At the end of the day's walk, we were driven back to Bay Minette to spend the night at Pinetreat, a Presbyterian retreat where we were given the use of a large A-frame cabin. Everyone seemed tired. Most had found a corner of the cabin in which to read or write. I had a headache. Nagase gave my head and shoulders a massage. Soon the headache and fatigue were gone. Later, Neils, Carster, and Julia left for a welk in the woods. They appeared to be high when they returned. Morishita read aloud a few pages from "Buddhism for World Peace", by Venerable Fuji, the founder and teacher of the Nipponzan Myohoji sect. This passage was from a speech which Fuji had given at the conclusion of the Long Walk for Survival, a walk initiated by native American people. January 25, Atmore to Brewton The weather has been beautiful recently. Again, the temperature was in the 60s. Most of today's walk was through rural wooded areas. We enjoyed the walk, even though we did not see many people. There were rolling hills of green pastures with grazing horses. The countryside was dotted with small ponds. We stopped to eat lunch at a roadside state park, by a lovely winding river. A young man in his early twenties drove up to our picnic table. He just sat in his car, glaring at us. Carole walked up to him, all smiles, and kindly invited him to join us for lunch. He answered roughly, "I'm not hungry!", started his car loudly, and sped out of the park, slinging gravel at us. Diane told us that tonight we would be guests of Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton. I laughed and said that ole Jeff Davis would be spinning in his grave tonight. Julia was the only other walker who knew who Jeff Davis was. I gave a brief history of the founding of the Confederate States of America. We were almost at our afternoon rest break when a car stopped suddenly in the highway. He then speedily backed up toward us on the left shoulder of the road. Carole and I were carrying the banner in front. We thought that the driver was trying to run over us. He stopped before us, jumped out, and shouted, "Do you like fried chicken?" Finally, communication was established. He was the president of the community college, on his way to pick up a dozen boxes of fried chicken for our supper. We told him that chicken would be fine. Carole and Mercury were the only strict vegetarians among us. We finished the final five miles and arrived in Brewton just before dark. The dean of students was there to meet us, and to provide us with directions to where we were to stay. He directed us to go to this building, then go down this hall, then go through this door, etc. We followed his directions and found ourselves in the men's shower room in the gymnasium. Someone went to find the dean to let him know that we needed more directions. But it turned out that we had followed his directions correctly. So, ole Jeff Davis may have been turning in his grave tonight, but he may have been laughing occasionally as well. As we were unloading our gear, Neils, Carster, and Julia showed up. They had stayed at the river for about an hour, then hitched a ride back to the college. They told me they were getting "bad vibes" from the rest of us. They wanted to know if it had anything to do with their not walking this afternoon. We all went to the student lounge to watch the news and to eat our chicken box lunches. The bad news was that the House had approved Reagan's request for funds to again begin preparing for biological and chemical war with the Soviet Union. CBS news now showed the existence of a "nerve gas gap". After hearing this, no one felt like eating fried chicken wings. How can all of this be happening? How many times over must the government prepare to kill everyone and in how many different ways? This news redoubled our resolve. I went back to the showers to stretch out my sleeping bag and read Fuji's "Buddhism for World Peace." I learned that Fuji had worked with Gandhi for the nonviolent liberation of India from England; it was said that Gandhi called him "guriji" (teacher). By reading some of the chapters, I also began to gain some insight into the meaning of the Buddhist prayer for peace, which I had chanted for more than three weeks now. Julia came in. She told me that Neils and Carster were depressed because they were not seeing as many people as they had hoped. They had decided that tomorrow they would take "radical" political action to change the focus of the peace walk. I wanted to know what this involved, here in rural Alabama. Evidently I did not show as much enthusiasm as she had expected. I too was disappointed that we were not talking with so many people lately. We were on a predominantly black college campus, but no one knew we were here, and we were sleeping in the men's shower room. Still, I believed that to change matters we should first pass the word to Pamela and to our local coordinators that we expected to speak with more people in the evenings. "Radical political action" tomorrow morning did not excite me.
page 12January 26, Brewton to Evergreen The "radical political action" predicted by Julia did not materialize today. By this time, the political persuasions had become well-defined. It was these divergent outlooks which were now causing some dissatisfaction, especially in Neils and Carster. The monks and Shima believed that the simple act of faith involved in walking and praying was sufficient. Carole and Mercury were of the Rainbow Tribe philosophy: they believed that the key to peace was changing the heart of the individual. Neils and Carster believed that peace came about as a result of working for social justice in the political sphere. This was Julia's first real political activity. She was first drawn to the peace march through the activity of her seventeen-year-old daughter. At this point, my views were closer to those of Neils and Carster. Most of us had our own personal reasons for working for peace. I had been awakened to the imminent threat of nuclear war just one year earlier. The government had conducted a series of workshops across the country, mainly to validate their civil defense manual. It was only accidental that I was asked to attend, as they needed one more person to reach the minimum number to run the class, which was held in the building where I worked. At this workshop we learned how to become fallout shelter managers and how to interpret their shelter manual. My town was to be a host community. The evacuation procedure for the surrounding counties was also detailed. If the civil defense plan went exactly as planned in every city, the government employee told us that we would still have 80-l20 million civilians killed the first day of a US-SU nuclear war. For eight hours we listened to the effects of nuclear weapons, to evacuation plans, to what life would be like within the shelter, and then to what life would probably be like after the war. At the conclusion, all of the forty middle-class professionals at the workshop were stunned. The conductor thought that people did not understand the evacuation procedure. So he said, "Cheer up! The chances are we won't have this war until l985, so you have five years to develop the plan." An employee of the US government had just told us that perhaps we had five years before a nuclear war would occur. I refused to accept this and decided to devote myself fulltime to working for nuclear disarmament. The monks had decided to devote their entire lives to this objective. The major distinction between Nipponzan Myohoji and other sects of Nichiren Buddhists is that they work exclusively for peace. Morishita, thirty-seven years old, had taken part in his first peace walk in l96l. He became a monk at the unusually young age of ten. This was possible because he was born in a temple. At his birth, his mother was chanting, "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo." Nagase, thirty, had been a monk for four years. At one time, he had been a pro baseball player in Japan. Rumor had it that he was once a long-haired hippie. Sakamaki, twenty, had been a monk for only a few years. He was the second youngest monk now in the order. Over the previous two years, the three had walked in different parts of the world in the World Peace March. Morishita had walked through India and Africa. Nagase had walked in eastern Europe and also in the Stockholm-to-Paris peace walk last summer. Sakamaki spent the last two years walking through Ireland and the Great Britain. The United States was the final stage of the World Peace March, a march that had crossed every inhabited continent. I felt a part of this chain of millions of people, each of us chanting, "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo." This Buddhist prayer for peace was our shared language. This morning we learned that the woman who had initially agreed to house us tonight in Evergreen had changed her mind. Tremendous pressures had been put on her by members of her church to withdraw her support for "the communists".. We did not know whether we had a place to spend the night. Finally a local minister, Joel Jones, agreed to host us out of Christian charity. He hated to see his "fellow ministers" sleeping along the side of the road in Evergreen. About five miles from town, a friendly black Alabama state trooper arrived to serve as our escort. He told us not to hesitate to call upon the Alabama Highway Patrol for assistance if we ran into any trouble. Diane and Jeannette passed us on to our new coordinator, Sister Ellen, who was at Joel's house to greet us. Joel soon involved Niels, Carster, and me in a debate about which side is the obstructor to peace: US or USSR. Joel thought that it was the USSR, while we thought that both governments shared blame, but the US was the more blameworthy. We watched CBS evening news again, which led off by reporting on the opening of arms talks in Geneva, with Buddhist monks praying outside the meeting. Joel and I talked for almost six hours, covering many topics. After midnight, Joel's wife interrupted us, saying she had asked Julia to leave Neils and Carster's room, but Julia had refused. I went to talk with Julia, but Joel beat me there and a big scene ensued. Joel asked for an apology from Julia; she refused; he ordered her out of the house. (She slept in the van outside.) Joel woke Ellen up talking excitedly about "free sex" and "desecration of his home." Julia was not allowed to eat breakfast with us the next morning. Though the rest of us felt that Julia was in the right, we believed that the right to assert one's individuality in one's hosts' house should not override our objective of winning community support for disarmament; she should have apologized. We had done our cause damage in Evergreen. January 27, Evergreen to Georgiana It was cold, but not so windy as yesterday. There were almost no houses or cars. Carster timed 25 minutes between cars at one point. There was a positive aspect in the day's walk. In the afternoon, a young man stopped to talk with us. He had driven past three or four times before stopping. He said he had been UA (Unauthorized Absence) from the Navy for more than thirty days. He had been a Navy medic in the Philippines and left because of training in what he suspected to be chemical-biological weapons. The last few days, Carole had some problems with her knee. He gave her some medical advice. He wanted to join us but was reluctant because he knew that the FBI would watch us closely. This would increase his chances of the brig for UA. After nineteen miles, we were driven to Greenville where we stayed with James Cook, an AME Zion minister and president of the local community college.
page 13Before supper, Neils called a short meeting. He and Carster were concerned that we were spending our time walking along rural isolated highways. He gave the example of not walking through some large cities, like Mobile. He thought we should be spending more time outside the offices of state departments of employment and of food stamps. He thought we should be making the connection between military spending and cuts in social spending. It was at this meeting that Morishita told us that he had told Pamela that the peace march was not interested in talking with groups. This was because Morishita had thought that the New Orleans route would not have walkers who could speak English. We all agreed that the tactics of walking to New York and of talking to people in the evening were not contradictory. Both were, in fact, highly desirable. Therefore we should start daytime visits and evening programs wherever, and as soon as, possible. Reverend Cook overheard our discussion. He confessed that he was not aware that we wanted to talk with people. He would have liked for us to speak at some of his classes at the college; now it was too late. Many people who brought food to the potluck supper really did not know who we were. Some thought we were from India while others thought we were college students. Pamela called to talk with Julia about last night's events. Julia, Neils, and Carster again left after supper to go for a walk. Morishita wondered what the phone call from Pamela was about. Mercury tried to explain what had happened. Carole, Mercury, and I continued to write letters of appreciation. January 28, Georgiana to Greenville (and Selma) We had a close call with the police at lunch. Julia went off by herself to get high. Carster walked across the road to a pond to fish. Julia, with the pot, joined Carster at the pond. The patrol car, which had been with us most of the day, was parked nearby. He called out to tell Carster and Julia to get off private property. (He later told Ellen that he had called the game warden to have them arrested.) Only a few of us seemed to be aware of the danger that pot was presenting to us. That day we reached Selma. After potluck supper at the Catholic Church (with local TV coverage), we went to Brown Chapel Church for an interfaith service. This was where Martin Luther King, Jr., had preached. This is also the church where the civil rights marchers assembled before attempting to cross the now-famous Pettus bridge. Many speakers noted that King had taken a stand against nuclear weapons shortly before he was killed. King's acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize was read. After the service, we all joined hands and sang "We Shall Overcome". This is definitely the high point of the march so far. After the service, Ellen and I talked about the problem of pot on the walk. We knew that the police and others would automatically associate "communism, free sex, and pot" with a peace march. We discussed the potential harm of a drug arrest to the march and agreed that I should try to do something to resolve the problem. I called a meeting among Julia, Neils, Carster, and myself. Julia told us that she had talked to an attorney that day and that he would defend her if she were arrested. I pointed out that she came close to being arrested today and that we could expect our support to decrease if someone was arrested for drugs. There was also the fact that most of the walkers were here with tourist visas. If arrested, there was a chance that they would be deported. Julia began to cry. She said she was psychologically dependent on pot. She really did not believe that she could cope with the stresses of the walk without being able to use pot. Neils and Carster agreed that something should be done about the drugs on the walk. Finally Julia said she would mail the pot to herself at the next rest day and would continue to follow this procedure, ensuring that pot would not be used on the walk itself. After this meeting, Sister Ellen told us that, though our coordinator had been assured that our permit to "parade" in Montgomery would be approved, it had been rejected by the city council. Morishita said the council had done their homework. In l976, the Southern route of the Continental Walk for Peace and Justice had passed through Montgomery. The walk was coordinated by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Violence was directed at the walkers -- some cars were bombed -- several marchers were jailed for ten days. We decided we would march even without a permit. We could not allow a precedent to be established that a major city could deny our permission to walk together. We would be in Montgomery in a few days. January 29, Greenville to intersection of 97 with 3l We had to be driven one and a half hours to get to the point where we left off on the 28th. It was good of the people in Selma to drive us so far, enabling us to attend the Browns Chapel service. We were watched all day by a county police car. I had the impression that the deputy was just waiting for us to break a law so he could arrest us. He especially warned us to stay off private property. Even so, Julia went off into the woods to get high. The road was still very isolated. Less than 100 cars passed, all day, and there were very few houses. At lunch a man stopped his car and came over to talk with us. He greeted the monks in Japanese. He was a farmer who looked a little like Jimmy Carter -- he even had a Carter accent. He told the monks that he had been a medic in World War II. One of the first Americans to enter Hiroshima, he had been horrified by what he saw. Now he signed our petition, went off, and returned in a few hours with another man, who also signed. After the afternoon's walk, we were driven half an hour to a Black church, several miles down a dirt road. As we drove down that road, many children came out to wave. Our hosts provided day care in the community, Haynesville. Pretty soon, cars began pulling up at the church. They came bringing food for a potluck supper; a few folks also had mattresses tied on top -- for us, for sleeping on the church floor. About fifty people attended the interfaith service. It seemed that the whole community was there. (And some say that peace is not an issue in the black community!) Our host, Sister Ellen, told me that the community had been planning for our arrival for the past two weeks. She also told us that the march into Montgomery the next day would be smooth, even without a parade permit: a city councilwoman had informed the police that she would be walking with us into the city. Since they didn't want to arrest her, the police had decided to provide us an unofficial escort, though we would still have to walk along the shoulder of the road and not block traffic. Sister Ellen asked me whether the pot was gone. I told her I thought so.
page 14January 30, Intersection of 97 with 3l to Montgomery The day started out great, but ended miserable. Today's distance was nineteen miles. We were joined by eleven Pax Christi members from Montgomery, most of them nuns and priests in clerical garb; entering Montgomery we were joined by forty others, mostly Pax Christi. For lunch, we stopped along the roadside at a small church. There were a lot of police and TV crews around us. Ellen warned us to stay together and to keep off private property, a warning directed at Julia. But she picked up her day pack, where she usually kept the pot, and said she was going behind the church to sunbathe. Ellen looked at me and I shrugged. She told Morishita that she suspected Julia had gone off to smoke pot -- incredibly bad judgement, with the police and press around. Ellen suggested that Morishita send Julia immediately to Montgomery. He did. We had a police escort of some 30 officers, many surprising me by their sympathy to us. Julia was waiting for us when we arrived at St. Jude Catholic Church. Ellen told me that Julia had spoken with a nun and threatened to go to the press and charge that others had broken rules of the march and she was out because she was a woman. After supper we held a stormy meeting. An hour later, we had all vowed not to use drugs for the rest of the walk. But Morishita wanted a lifetime vow. Both sides took extreme views. Carsten explained that his newspaper was working for the legalization of marijuana in Denmark. He said he thought that religion was the opiate of the people, but was willing to walk with monks: so, monks should be willing to walk with him. Shima was more uncompromising than the monks. He had long suspected that Julia was leaving the group to smoke pot; his journal listed the times. I was surprised that Shima had not brought this to others' attention before. Carole and Mercury also knew that she had bought pot, but were reluctant to do anything. They feared exposure, because Julia knew Mercury was in the US without a passport. Brian, who had just joined us that day after arranging to drop out of school, said that if she were forced to leave, then he would leave also. No vote was taken. The monks reserved the right to make the decision themselves. They would let us know that decision in the morning. The meeting was over at 2 a.m. but I don't think anyone slept. January 3l, Rest day in Montgomery This was a scheduled rest day. It was anything but restful. Early in the morning, Morishita phoned Pamela in Atlanta to explain the situation to her. He told her that he had decided that Julia, Carsten, Niels, Brian, and I would have to leave the walk. (I had joined them in using pot once.) Carole came in to talk with me. She said that everyone respected the role which I had taken as mediator of the different conflicts in the group. (I sure bungled this one.) But the decision was made and would not be changed. Morishita would call a meeting to let the other four know of his decision. Carole asked that I take the initiative in volunteering to leave so that Julia would leave the walk quietly and not try to discredit it. We went to church. A peace mass was conducted. I don't remember it very much. At the end of the service, all of the walkers stood at the front of the church while the congregation filed past, shook our hands, and wished us luck and success. It was difficult to talk with them and keep a smiling face, knowing what the next few hours would bring. Mass over, the decision was announced. I asked that we be allowed to stay until tomorrow morning in order to make plans. I decided to return to Durham, while the others decided to go to Mobile. Some of Brian's friends would drive up later in the day. The next bus for Durham didn't leave until the next morning. After the other four had left, Shima and Morishita said that it might be possible for me to rejoin the walk in a few weeks. I was invited to join them in the morning for prayers.
page 15February l, Montgomery to Durham I got up early and joined the monks and Shima for prayers, for the first time. I felt encouraged because the monks had not invited anyone to join them for prayers before. Morishita said that I must call the national office to talk with Rev. Kato before rejoining the walk. Sister Ellen drove me to the bus station. I left with many warm goodbyes. The bus ride to Durham was a long 26 hours, going by a different route than a month ago -- in more ways than one. February 2 - February l2. In Durham, N.C. When I arrived in Durham, I talked with Tim McGloin about the split in the walk and my desire to return. The NCcoordinator of the walk, Tim knew Rev. Kato and Sr. Claire, both of the national office. He discussed the situation with them. They were not aware that we had been asked to take a lifetime vow of abstinence from marijuana and alcohol. Finally I got permission from the national office to rejoin the walk and a request to get in touch with Neils and Carster to invite them to rejoin the walk also. Their presence was valuable as representing the European perspective on disarmament. I was not able to get in touch with them, but soon Carster called from New Orleans. I told him that I intended to rejoin the walk soon, and that he and Neils were also invited to rejoin. He said that they were not interested, though they intended to continue to work for disarmament and hoped to see us in New York at the UN. I got on the bus on the twelfth to rejoin the walk in Anniston, Alabama, the next day. I would not have thought that peace walks involved so much bus riding.
page 16February l3, Anniston, AL A young Black man from the Seventeenth Street Church picked me up at the station (without my gear, lost for a day in the Trailways baggage system). He was discouraged, having spent another fruitless morning looking for a job. I remarked on the beauty of the Appalachians in the distance; he said he wished they would tear them down so people could work. "The E.P.A. won't let people work here because of the mountains." He spoke of war: "One thing you can say about war is that people can always find work." He took me to the walkers, who were having lunch by the road. I opened the car door and sat there a few seconds, to see how they would react to my arrival. I had not been able to get in touch to let them know I was coming back. Carole was the first to recognize me, then all the old walkers jumped up to give me a warm welcome. Morishita wanted to know if Rev. Kato and Pamela knew that I was rejoining. I assured him that they did. There were now four new walkers: another monk, Ishiyama; Kurimori, a young man from Tokyo but originally from Hiroshima; Bill McCormick from the Center for Creative Non-Violence in DC; and Andy Secrest from Massachusetts. They had just finished lunch and soon were ready to start walking into Anniston. A noticeable change was evident in the walk. There was more discipline. People walked in rows of two, a set space between each walker. The chant was much slower and seemed much sadder. After a friendly reception at the church, we returned to the Salvation Army for supper, which was a plate of beans. I remembered our friend of the Biloxi vigil. After supper, Mercury gave me some highlights of the walk since I had left: a teach-in at Auburn University; receiving the key to the city of Birmingham from its Black mayor; meeting an elderly man on an isolated road outside Birmingham, who wept as he said that he had waited all his life for something like the peace march to come. He went off and came back with two quart jars of honey from his own hive. There had also been some trouble: a man who stopped his car and threw rocks at them; someone who didn't stop and hit Carole in the face with a water balloon, at 55 miles an hour. Mercury told me that the walk was definitely changed from the one I'd left two weeks earlier, mainly because of Rev. Ishiyama, a large man, a black belt in judo. Mercury thought he had been sent to enforce discipline and that the non-Japanese were being tested for their sincerity and dedication. Ishiyama had called Mercury down several times for walking too close to a monk. (Interestingly, the walk would later undergo another change toward relaxation of discipline after Ishiyama underwent changes.) Bill, Andy, and I also talked. They were anxious to hear my explanation of "the big drug bust in Montgomery." One of the Salvation Army employees came into our room and reported that the monks were praying in the TV room, disturbing the TV-watchers. He wanted one of us to go in and tell them to stop praying. I thought this funny, coming from a Salvation Army hostel, where the common complaint is of being forced to pray. After a couple of people asked the monks to come back to our room, it turned out they weren't praying after all, just conversing in Japanese. February l4, Anniston to Heflin. The monks got up early as usual, for prayers. Immediately someone in the next room pounded on the wall. "Shut up! People here are trying to sleep!" The monks continued chanting, very quietly. After breakfast the manager told us we must attend their worship service. Ironic. But we had to leave to walk 15 miles. An employee advised Bill as we went that we were hurting our cause "by mixing with the coloreds." Four of us had decided to join the civil rights march from Selma and were driven there by SCLC members. First, all of us went to the army base in Anniston for a prayer vigil. Not knowing what was happening, the non-Japanese followed the monks to the entrance gate, where they read a special prayer as we stood in silence. During the l5-minute vigil, four cars of MPs pulled up. I knew that it was illegal to demonstrate on military property and thought we would be arrested. But the MPs did not even get out of their cars. That night the non-Japanese told the Japanese that while we supported the prayer vigil, we thought that all of us should be consulted before other acts of civil disobedience were carried out. We tried to show them the necessity of open meetings and open decision-making. After the vigil, the remaining six walkers began the walk to Heflin, arriving in early afternoon. With unclear directions, we took a few wrong turns. Two patrol cars and two pickups stopped to tell us we were off our parade route, threatening to arrest us. We straightened out the technicalities and proceeded to our reception at the Southern Baptist Assembly. Then we took our gear to a vacant rental house, left it, and came back to the Assembly for supper. After supper we were special guests at a local SCLC rally supporting the Selma-Montgomery march. Conections between the arms race and social program cuts were clearly made. Now our four delegates came back from that march and reported that they walked out of Selma with more than 5,000 people and crossed The Bridge. They beat their prayer drums and chanted; emotions were high, many clapping in time with the drums. February l5, Heflin, AL to Carrollton, GA It was cold and rained the entire day. We walked 20 miles. At first, we saw just the "Welcome to Georgia" highway sign. Then we saw about ten people gathered by it to really welcome us to Georgia. One was our national coordinator, Pamela Blockey O'Brien. We had talked on the phone so much that I felt as if we had met already though actually Morishita was the only one to have met her before. We said goodbye to Jeannie from Anniston Seventeenth Street Baptist Church. She had driven our support vehicle for the past three days. Her parting words were, "Man, you all are just about the prayingest people I've seen in my whole life!" February l6, Carrollton to Villa Rica There was heavy rain all day long, with lightning and thunder added in the afternoon. The highway and streets were flooded, almost impassable for cars. We assembled at a shopping center where we were joined by many people. Five students decided to walk with us to Villa Rica even in this bad weather. We arrived at the Villa Rica town hall at 3 p.m., exactly on schedule, and were welcomed by the mayor and a few town employees. Since our hosts had not yet arrived, we transferred our gear from the Carrollton cars to the meeting room in the town hall. While we were running in and out of the rain, the town employees were serving us pots of hot coffee and trays of doughnuts. At our hosts' house Carole, Mercury, and I discussed what we felt was one more division among the walkers -- that between the Japanese and non-Japanese walkers. I still felt prejudice against me. Carole and Mercury sensed bad feelings against them because they slept together and also because they lived a hippie lifestyle. Morishita was still friendly and cheerful toward us. But we felt his leadership role was being challenged by Ishiyama. Morishita had been a monk for twenty-seven years, Ishiyama for fifteen, and both had been involved in significant peace walks recently. We felt that Morishita was being pressured by Ishiyama to make this walk more Buddhist. Kurimori, the most recent arrival, could speak very little English. He was friendly to us, but understandably stayed closer to the other Japanese. He said that he was a "seeker", and not necessarily Buddhist: he drew from Christian beliefs as well. He was dedicated to disarmament and had left a high-salaried job as an architect in Tokyo to join the peace march after a childhood friend from Hiroshima died of second-generation radiation. We wished that we could have communicated with him better. Carole, Mercury, and I decided that we could not continue to New York in this manner. If pacifists from the East and the West could not come together to work for nuclear disarmament, then our beliefs were a lie. We decided that we would talk to Morishita the next night. At the meeting that night, Carole asked the Japanese to sing a peace song in their language. This is the first time that we heard "No More A-Bombs" (which we would all learn later). It was written in l958 and was the Japanese equivalent of "We Shall Overcome"; it ends, "People of the World take care that the third atomic bomb never comes." My mind flashed to the words on the monument in Hiroshima Park which is dedicated to those who died in the fires of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "Rest in peace, for we will not repeat the sin." February l7, Villa Rica to Douglasville The rain continued. We took our first break at l0 o'clock at the court house in Villa Rica where we were welcomed by the mayor and county employees. The mayor read a short statement. Morishita presented him with our booklet of photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and with the peace declaration of the mayor of Hiroshima. Before we left the courthouse, the police told us that the judge was not as receptive of our visit as the mayor had been. The judge said that our chant had disturbed the jury and he would hold us in contempt of court if we continued to chant as we left. We heard the news, but did not have to discuss it. We left the courthouse chanting our Buddhist prayer for peace. We arrived at the host church in Douglasville about 3:30, proceeding to another church for showers. While Morishita and I were waiting our turn for the shower, we engaged in a rare discussion on religion. Morishita and the other monks never tried to convert us to Buddhism. In one city, a newspaper reporter had tried to focus the interview on Buddhism. Morishita had stopped him, saying "The monks and nuns of Nipponzan Myohoji could be walking around the world to convert people to Buddhism. But what would it gain us if the world was destroyed by nuclear war? We walk around the world to talk about the dangers of nuclear weapons." But now we talked about religion. Morishita said that it was necessary that people in the peace movement draw strength from sources other than themselves. This was especially true of peace walkers who walk two thousand miles in six months. I listened to him, but silently questioned his ideas. By the time we reached New York, I had come to agree. After supper that evening, Carole, Mercury, and I asked Morishita to meet with us in private to discuss what we believed to be splits within the walk. The four of us assembled in a small room for an hour meeting, which at times was tearful. We knew that the only thing that could prevent our reaching New York was internal division and vowed that this would not happen. We told Morishita that we felt our efforts had not been appreciated by the monks, simply because we were not monks. The walk itself was the best part of our day; after the walking we felt we were treated as second class. We felt that our commitment to peace was always in question. We knew that the monks considered the walk as their prayer; the place where we stayed for the night was considered their temple. We were always on guard lest some action of ours would be offensive to them. Any insult to them was only accidental, arising from our ignorance of their customs. Morishita said that he too was aware of the tensions between the Japanese and non-Japanese. He saw the tensions as the result of personalities rather than culture. (It was hard to believe that these personality differences just happened to develop along the lines that they did.) He said that he was caught in the middle of the conflict. After this meeting the Japanese would prematurely, to begin a group meeting, but asked that Morishita convey our feelings to the other Japanese. It was a business-like meeting, chaired by Morishita. Debate was slowed by the fact that Morishita had to translate from English to Japanese and vice versa. But this was one of our most beneficial meetings. We decided that Bill and Morishita would be our treasurers. We had a treasury of a little over one hundred dollars. Any expenditure of over fifteen dollars would require group approval. The most emotional issue concerned Mercury's status as an "illegal alien". Sakamaki was the most vocal in demanding Mercury's nationality. Mercury said that he considered himself a citizen of the planet but that he understood Sakamaki's concern. He had considered going to the German embassy for proper visas. If the question of citizenship was not clarified by the time we left Atlanta, he would leave us, from fear of arrest and deportation. We could not engage in any "peace action" at a military base without the fear of the deportation of one of our members. We were disappointed to find that we'd have only three rest days in Atlanta -- none a total rest day -- instead of the week planned. The topic of food was also discussed. Up to now, Carole and Mercury had bought food, often with their own money, when food was not provided by our host community. We reaffirmed our pledge at the beginning of the walk: if food was not provided, we would fast; if shelter was not provided, we would sleep by the side of the road. Also, since food was the basic sustainer of life, it was important that everyone participate in its preparation. The remaining agenda item was the need to have a rotating group leader -- someone who would be responsible for liaison between our group and the local hosts. It was emphasized that the group leader was not to make any major decision affecting the group without consulting us all first. The meeting was adjourned. Feelings had been strong again; overall, people were pleased with the meeting's results. Levels of responsibility had been well-defined. I stayed up past midnight preparing my presentation for Atlanta. February l8, Douglasville to Austell This was the fourth straight day we walked in cold rain. Almost all of us are sick. The prayer drum was accidentally broken. I talked with a reporter from the "Atlanta Journal" for over an hour. She had spent most of the morning talking with Pamela and left with over thirty pages of notes. The paper decided not to run a story but did publish a photo of our arrival in Austell. It was printed on the page opposite the comics. February l9, Austell to Atlanta The sun finally shone, but it was still cold. My father was driving through, we had sat up late in his motel talking, and he drove me to the assembly point to begin today's walk. He joined us in our prayer circle, but he was not physically able to walk with us. We said good-bye and he continued his trip to New Orleans. We were joined by about forty people for our walk into Atlanta. Pamela was with us, as well as many activists in the local disarmament movement. We were to be met by a representative from the mayor's office (perhaps even Andrew Young) at the inner city park at 4:00. It would mean a lot to receive support from this other Andy, the United States ambassador to the United Nations during the first Special Session on Disarmament (SSD-I). We arrived at the park a few minutes before 4 o'clock and were met by a representative from Mayor Young's office. He read a statement from Young strongly supporting our goals, and our march. He also made us honorary citizens of Atlanta. We appreciated his official endorsement, remembered SSD-I, and thought wistfully of what might have been accomplished there had the NATO and Warsaw Treaty countries really supported it. Instead both held large war games in Europe and drew world press attention away from the U.N. After supper, host Mark Reeves drove us to Pamela's, where we had our first and only meeting with our route coordinator. We talked mostly about who was going where (which press conference, which church service, etc.) and about other events for the Atlanta area. Pamela requested that each of us have a short presentation for our program at Emory University. Different topics for the program were selected and assigned. I was to prepare a statement on civil defense. Carole talked with Pamela privately about the still existing friction between the Japanese and non-Japanese. Mercury also talked with her individually about how to solve the problem of his passport. We took turns reading letters from people we had seen and spoken with. We especially enjoyed reading letters from school children. Their letters sometimes began, "Dear Sore Feet." Primary school students sent us pictures they had drawn expressing what peace meant to them. All of the letters were forwarded to the United Nations.
page 17February 20, Rest day in Atlanta #l I was really sick today. Maybe it was the flu. Carole, Mercury, and I spent most of the morning working on our presentation at Emory in two days. Mercury and I also played a few games of chess. We arrived at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Church in time to help set up displays for the press conference at l:00 o'clock. Altogether, there were 16 people prepared to give statements and answer questions. Some were leading scientists and religious leaders of the South. Unfortunately, only two reporters came. We learned later that the Wayne Williams murder trial had unexpectedly adjourned, drawing most of the press. (Atlanta had been terrorized by murders of children, and Williams was accused -- and convicted.) Dean Carter, of the King Memorial Church, had attended the World Assembly of Religious Leaders for Disarmament, called by Fuji last year in Tokyo, when he announced plans for our March. Dean Carter told the press that he thought the two major problems facing the country were: (l) the threat of nuclear weapons, and (2) that so few people knew about (1). He explained that although civil rights and other struggles for equality must continue, that these struggles would have been meaningless if we lost the struggle against nuclear weapons. Rev. Timothy McDonald also met with the walkers. He was Assistant Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist (King's old church) and now heads Operation Breadbasket. At Martin Luther King Memorial Church and on the Morehouse College campus our Hiroshima display was seen by many black.. February 21, Rest day in Atlanta #2 There was less rest today than yesterday. We had divided ourselves into four groups in order to attend four different church services this morning. Ishiyama, Shima, Carole, Mercury, and I attended Oakhurst Baptist Church, one of the most liberal, socially active Baptist churches that I have ever encountered. When the issue of integration arose several decades ago, they decided that the Gospel directed them to take positive steps to integrate their church. Though they lost many of their original members, they gained many new members. Oakhurst is still predominantly white, but today was holding a joint service with a Black Baptist church nearby. We attended the prayer service of the church deacons before the church service. We would be introduced toward the end of the service. Then one of us would give a prayer for peace. Usually, Rev. Ishiyama would give our prayer, but the deacons thought this would offend some of their members. A Catholic sister had given a prayer in the Roman Catholic tradition a few weeks ago. Even this upset some members. Being Baptist, I was asked to give the prayer. There followed a large interfaith service in the city park, and fifteen speakers represented an impressive cross-section of religion and science. Pamela gave the opening address, a fiery attack on the leaders of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. who are preparing for nuclear war. We met briefly with the famed Trappist Thomas Fidelis, whose monastery was near Atlanta. About a month before, he had contacted us, saying he would like to join us in Atlanta to walk the rest of the way to New York. But his superiors had denied him permission to join us. They thought it would be a breach of his vow of silence. When we were in South Carolina, Morishita got a letter from him, saying he had appealed the denial to the Vatican but had been advised to serve the cause of peace by praying for it in his monastery. Today, however, he was allowed to join in the interfaith service, sitting with the Buddhist monks on the stage. Later Pamela described Morishita's meeting with Thomas, who is like an incarnation of St. Francis and is also a Zen adept. Reverend Morishita and Brother Thomas Fidelis made an emotional pact. Thomas gave Morishita his guardian angel to watch over him. Thomas wanted to see how the prayer banner was carried. The two stood together, one in saffron and the other in black and white robe. After supper Mark drove us to Pamela's house where all the walkers were given medical exams by a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. It was apparent that many of us were showing signs of either physical or mental fatigue. My pulse was 118. I received a prescription for antibiotics for my chest cold. Kurimori and Ishiyama had elevated blood pressure. The streses of talking about nuclear war all the time, and always being in contact with the same people, were taking their toll. February 22, Rest day in Atlanta #3 This was our final rest day. I slept until 10:00. Carole, Mercury, and I put the final touches to our presentations for Emory that afternoon. We went over our speeches with each other to be sure of correct sentence structure, etc. Kurimori was especially nervous. This was to be the first time he had spoken at length in public -- and it was to be in English! A tutor had worked with him all weekend on the correct pronunciation of some words. Morishita read for about thirty minutes from Fuji's journal covering the time that he had participated in India's salt walks, led by Gandhi. The passage dealt with the power of non-violence on a day when the marchers had come under fierce attack by British troops. Many marchers were killed or injured. Yet they did not respond with violence. Each of the walkers then spoke for about ten minutes. I spoke on civil defense, giving details of the l98l workshop. Bill made the connection between the arms race and the poor, drawing on his experiences at the Center for Creative Non-Violence. He told us of Reaganville, a tent city built by CCNV across from the White House to provide housing for DC street people during the winter months. They were already victims of the arms race, along with the poor of the Soviet Union, Poland, and the Third World in the hundreds of millions. Carole closed the program with a presentation on the beauty of human life. The program was excellent even if a little long. Molly Brown, a college sophomore, was so impressed that she dropped out of college the next quarter and joined us in Durham.
page 18February 23, Atlanta to Decatur It was a great day to resume walking. Temperatures were in the 80s. We were joined by about fifty people as we left from the inner city park and walked down the sidewalks of downtown Atlanta. At lunch in front of a high school, Susan Sandelback and I talked about what it was like for her, being the first woman to go through Catholic seminary to become a priest, in a church that does not permit ordination of women. Though not ordained, Susan considers herself a priest, as do many other Atlantans, especially the students of the four universities where she serves in campus ministries. Meanwhile Carole and Mercury were sitting in a circle with most of the high school students. They were especially good at talking with students. AFter about half an hour of talk, we joined hands in a circle and sang. Before we left, about forty students decided to stay out of school that afternoon and walk with us. One entire ethics class joined. After all, they reasoned, the possible destruction of the planet with nuclear weapons was an ethical problem. There were almost one hundred of us, as we left lunch. We took one more rest break in the afternoon in order not to arrive too early. Spirits were high. This was the most people who had walked with us, with many children and high school students. They tried to pick up the chant with us, and clapped their hands in time with the beat of the prayer drum. We arrived at the courthouse on schedule. The chairman of the DeKalb county commissioners, a Vietnam veteran, greeted us with a strong statement of support. At this time, being in favor of disarmament was still controversial for a local politician. Mercury had decided that he would take the risk of possible deportation. He would go to the German embassy in Atlanta for a visa. He was accompanied by a few people in the Atlanta peace movement. Few of us had time to say goodbye before he was driven back to Atlanta. The next day he would either be with us or be on a German-bound plane so we would never see him again. I observed Carole's anxiety, yet she took it philosophically: "If the universe intends it, we will be together again." The idea that the stars, planets, and infinite space were to play an active role in Mercury's proceedings at the German embassy the next day fascinated me, but I let it pass -- neither Carole nor I was in the mood for light-hearted debate. At our house that night, we found ourselves in two groups. At a table in one room, there was a long meeting conducted in Japanese. The rest of us sat around the living room, reading or writing. Bill gave us each $l0, a gift from Pamela. $300 had been donated at Sunday's rally. We had wanted Pamela to keep all the money to help pay expenses which included a gigantic phone bill. I felt better, but the chest cold still kept me awake most of the night and my constant coughing probably kept the others awake. February 24, Stone Mountain to Loganville Today was another beautiful day with temperatures still in the 80s. Carole, John, Andy S., and I were off before sunrise to climb Stone Mountain, and watched a lovely sunrise from the top. Our thoughts ran from the chanting of the monks at 5 a.m. that morning (extra-loud in celebration of Stone Mountain's nearness), to the other sacred mountain in Australia. The monks felt a special kinship to native Americans. They believed that Japanese and native Americans shared a common ancestry. Because of this feeling of kinship, arrangements had been made for us to walk through Stone Mountain Park, a place considered sacred by native Americans and their ancient home. We were saddened to see statues of Southern military heroes carved on one side of the mountain. We had to rush our breakfasts, especially Andy who, unfond of rice, cooked his own. He was just cleaning up dishes at 8:30, the time scheduled to leave. Shima went into the kitchen and began shouting at Andy, "It is 8:30, what are you doing? You should be ready to leave." It took him just a few more minutes to finish the dishes, but Shima was still upset. A bad start to the day. While we were joining hands in a circle, our ritual beginning each day's walk, Morishita briefly explained safety rules to new walkers. Then he provided information obviously meant for the core group walkers. "The Peace March itself is our prayer for peace. Therefore we should be more disciplined. There should be one meter between you and the person ahead of you. The political banner should go about three meters before the prayer banner, carried by Sakamaki." He then provided us with the usual schedule of the day's activities. The tension between Japanese and non-Japanese had developed to such an extent that this simple announcement was a cause of rebellion. First of all, we reasoned, the decision for a more disciplined walk was made at a meeting, last night, from which we had been excluded. It is hard to describe the feelings we had about this. We considered the walk to be our workplace. We were willing to submit our time in the evenings to the plans of the local coordinator. We felt that decisions affecting the walk were within our realm of control and should be decided by all. The time that we spent on the walk itself was the most relaxing of the whole day. Now it felt like the walk was becoming too rigid. It was evident, from the doctor's examination a few days ago, that we needed a reduction in tensions. Now just the opposite was happening. The Park Service would not allow us to carry our political banner, but did allow the prayer banner. The students and teachers left us when we reached the park boundary. We continued for another three miles, then took our morning break. Sakamaki leaned the pole of the prayer banner against a sign at the service station during the break. A furious manager came out demanding we remove the banner. Carole and I talked about Mercury, wondering what success he was having at the embassy. I did not really expect to see him again but did not say so. After the break Carole and I carried the banner in front. We often took turns carrying it. The poles were heavy, and on a windy day carrying the banner was a real task. But we felt that it was very important that people know who we were. We took pride in carrying it in such a way that it could be read by motorists. Now we had also to be sure that we were three meters in front of Sakamaki. Not only did the people carrying the banner have to watch out for traffic, for bottles and beer cans, and for holes, but also for Sakamaki. Carole and I felt this to be ridiculous. Let him be responsible for staying three meters behind us! This morning it seemed that we could not walk at the right speed to suit him. He was constantly shouting to us to slow down. He always shouted to Carole and not to me. This made her still madder, as if singled out as a woman. After a few miles, Carole and I decided that if this was the game he wanted to play, we would play too. We walked at a snail's pace and always motioned for Sakamaki to get back. We felt like school kids trying to get even. We were not happy with what we were doing. We stopped for lunch at a church in a small town, Social Circle. Our supporters at St. Michael's Church had fixed us dozens of sandwiches. Almost immediately, Carole complained to Morishita about Sakamaki. Our police escort drove up, and we engaged him in conversation. We were the third march to go through Social Circle in a month. The first was a civil rights march, followed in a few weeks by a Ku Klux Klan march. Carloads of weapons were seized from the KKK during that march. The community had been polarized by the two marches; now here came a third march. But it brought a prayer for peace. Appropriate, I thought. Though there was tension in our group, we believed we were a family and felt close to one another. Knowing that the Klan had so recently passed through added extra significance to our prayer; we tried extra hard to smile and waved to everyone we saw. I wondered what went on in their heads as they saw us walking behind a disarmament banner chanting "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo" and beating prayer drums. The police told us they would continue to provide us escort. They also told us which houses along the way held Klan sympathizers, information I saw no way to use. No hostile acts were directed at us that afternoon. After 17 miles we arrived at the church in Loganville, where we were to spend the night. A potluck supper was provided, but we had the evening free. People broke into groups of two or three in different rooms. Some slept, some shot basketball, and some wrote letters. Carole and I wrote letters. It seemed that she and I were always spending our free time writing letters. Every so often we would look up and wonder where Mercury was. Morishita came in to talk with us. He always smiled. For the last few weeks, he was also always the mediator. Who could stay angry at such a cheerful smiling person? Morishita had the unique ability to really listen to what people were saying. He would sit, his head hung, trying to catch each word. Thus he'd sit, for long periods, listening, never quick to respond. Then he would answer: slowly, using simple language, but in a way that indicated he had understood even more than what you'd actually spoken. I have seldom met anyone who was more attentive to what was being said -- yet English was not his native language. Susan Sandelback drove up about 9 o'clock with good news. Mercury was downstairs unpacking his gear from her car. He had a visa good for four months -- until the end of June. He came in a few minutes later to be warmly welcomed. He was back to stay. February 25, Loganville to Athens Overnight the temperature turned much colder. Although we covered 24 miles, we walked only nine miles and were driven 15. Walking through Monroe, we had easily ten times as many police escorting us as we had had in Atlanta. There was a police car at every intersection. Traffic was stopped in the city to let us walk down the middle of the road. I believe that many cities would have used the event of confiscated weapons at the Klan march last week to revoke our parade permit. But evidently the Monroe police were proud of their competence to maintain safety while permitting free expression -- though most Monrovian bystanders looked like they did not understand what was going on. Our next coordinators, Ray and Phyllis Durham, waited for us at a shopping center outside Athens. We transferred gear from one truck to another. As with so many supporters mentioned in this account, we found Ray and Phyllis to have lived -- to have served -- exceptional lives; and as with almost all such supporters, whom I remember well even without my full notes, I am not allowed space to recount their stories. Ray and Phyllis told us not to expect too much -- maybe six or seven at the most would join us to walk into town. Well, the three-mile walk into Athens was one of the high points of our walk. We walked slowly through the neighborhoods of this university town. What a sight! strung out for over two blocks were hundreds of Athenians, led by four Buddhist monks from Japan. Many families with young children. Those not carrying signs or flags they had brought were clapping in time with the drums. The echoes of the drums, clapping, and chanting bounced off the walls of the downtown stores. I'm sure that nothing similar had happened in Athens before. After several speakers at the courthouse welcoming ceremony, a woman from the crowd came up, asking to speak. She was concerned about the religious ritual in the peace walk, about all of us chanting and about our bowing to each other at the end of the walk. She was Jewish and had studied the rise of Hitler in Germany. She noted that at the beginning of his rise to power, he had used the Christian religion as a power base. She wondered if maybe the disarmament movement was not using religion in such a way, thus implying that it could lead to cultism or to fascism. I tried to respond to her concerns. It seemed to me that the real "Jonestown cultists" were in the Pentagon, asking us all to drink from their plutonium-laced kool-aid vat. I could not apologize for the movement's having its support in the religious community; it seemed indeed most appropriate that the peace issue be addressed within the religious community. We were chanting a Buddhist prayer for peace because the Buddhist monks had taken a significant role in initiating the peace walk. I explained this was an interfaith walk, with the endorsement of five hundred world religious organizations, including the World Council of Churches. After the rally I talked with her some more; she was still upset; I do not believe I was able to dispel her fears.
page 19February 26, Rest day in Athens I woke this morning to find that a major storm had moved in overnight. The ground was covered with snow. In fact, snow fell for most of the day. Today was a scheduled rest day, with only a prayer vigil scheduled for the morning. With the snowfall, maybe the day really would be restful. I was comfortable at Metta and Joe's. We were all sitting together in the one heated room, half-asleep, watching the snow fall. In midmorning, Mercury (contact person of the week) called to tell us that plans had changed. Instead of the two-hour prayer vigil outside we would hold a four-hour photo display inside the student union lobby. Joe was going to class and was able to give us a ride to campus. His VW had only one seat, the driver's. Bill and I sat on the cold floor, holding our backpacks on our laps, as Joe cleaned snow from the windshield. I had to repeat a line from one of Jim Morrison's songs, "This is one of the strangest lives I ever lived." We got out behind the student union, with our packs and the bag lunches Metta had fixed, and were directed upstairs. Bill and I helped Morishita put up the literature table, then the photo display which was on the balcony overlooking the annual international students coffee house. Some of us went downstairs to get coffee. It wasn't ready, and we were told to stay upstairs lest two events be confused as one. Evidently, world peace was too controversial an issue for the international students to get involved in. We bought our coffee from the snack bar. But -- an hour later -- a few monks could be seen mingling in the coffee house audience and the muffled beat of prayer drums could be heard. Carole, Nagase, and Shima had gone to a high school to address an assembly. The three had also spoken to individual classes. Not all of us were needed upstairs, so John, Andy S., and I went downstairs to talk to students and ask them to sign our petition. We had been told students here were apathetic; but about 75% of those we asked, signed the petition -- more than 200. We also handed out literature, and directed people upstairs to the photo display. For four hours, it looked like we were everywhere, on all three levels of the student union. Then we packed up our display, found the evening program cancelled by the snow, and ended up talking until midnight; tomorrow would really be a rest day. This really is the strangest life I've ever lived. It has been good though. February 27, Rest day in Athens #2 I slept late and did not get out of bed until ll o'clock. Most of the day really was restful. I completely escaped into a two-hour basketball game, U. Va. vs Maryland. This was the first ACC basketball game that I had seen since leaving Durham. I would have to wait until we got to NC -- another month -- before I would find people who could talk intelligently -- and emotionally --about basketball. Before the game my new hosts, David and Tish Rainey, invited some friends, a couple of recent Duke grads, over for lunch and conversation. They were pro-disarmament. Immediately, I think, we got into a two-hour debate about disarmament strategies, being realistic, etc. By the end of the debate I was exhausted. It seems that people can support disarmament intellectually but, at the same time, try to come up with all kinds of reasons for not working to help bring it about. I expected to talk more with David and Tish, very nice people, that evening. But as I was preparing to leave to attend the evening program, I got the word to take my luggage along: new hosts that night. After a potluck and a service, each attended by over a hundred people, I got another surprise. After Morishita's speech following group singing of folk-songs, I was introduced as the next speaker. Afterward, I talked with Greg Jocey about getting a WRL chapter started in Athens and with a school reporter about sending them progress reports from the walk. It would have been good if we had the resources to put together a newsletter to send our supporters. Bill and I were hosted now by Margaret and Warren Findley, both seventy-two. Mr. F. had been a college professor at U. Ga. until this year. Mrs. F jokingly told us he had retired at seventy-two since this was the age of statutory senility. She tutored "disadvantaged" pre-school children . He now works with the same kids, teaching them chess. We sat before the fire, drank tea, ate cookies, and spoke of many things, ranging from the Findley family and the peace walk to Mr. Findley's role in developing psychometric tests including the SAT and GRE. They taught us a very simple grace for breakfast. (Grace was fated to become complex before we got to New York City, and a matter of contention. At this epoch in the walk, grace at supper would go about as follows. All circled, joining hands, while the local minister or host offered the traditional Christian grace. Then we would sing, usually "Thank you for this day, O Lord, Thank you for this day. This healing, this healing, this healing day," with ensuing verses with "day" replaced by "friends", "food", "walk". After this we chanted "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo" three times. A few minutes of silence would then conclude the grace.) I would have liked to include the Findleys' breakfast prayer, but the food was already nearly cold when we started to eat. February 28; Athens to Arnoldsville This day was very cold. The road had been cleared, but there was still plenty of snow on the ground and it was deeper on the shoulder. So we walked 14 miles through melting snow. My feet felt frozen in the running shoes I wore; yet Nagase was wearing sandals -- without socks. Despite these bad conditions, 40 people walked with us until lunch, and ten with us clear to Arnoldsville. Our morning break was outside a stockyard. It was Sunday, but people were working inside. They permitted us to come in, get warm, and use their toilets. Morishita told me that his arms were sore. The monks had played ping pong all day on rest day. Lunch in Winterville was a social occasion, with 50 folks crowded into their fine historic railroad station to eat. Town dignitaries including the city manager gave us an official reception and Joan Biles, chairperson of "Marigolds from America", read a short poem and distributed a large box of marigold seeds to demonstrate friendship from America. The library was unlocked for toilet use; it had a strong odor of books. Jane, a young former school teacher, asked me about joining the walk. Now working in a factory, she had thought about us for a week before attending all our activities in Athens. She was a little unsure what it would be like. AFter fifteen minutes or so, I introduced her to Carole (still the only female walker). then to Morishita. A little encouragement was all she needed; we all gave that, happy with the prospect of another woman. Mercury and Carole had been blaming some of our tensions on "too much male energy and not enough female energy." From Arnoldsville, people from Jubilee Farms drove us to their farms for a few hours; the monks would spend the night there. Jubilee was a religious community established about l980 to help settle war refugees. The ten "partners" at Jubilee had started out living in tents and gradually built houses. They accepted war refugees for six to eight weeks while these would learn basic English and basic living skills like the value of the dollar, shopping for food, and living on a fixed budget. There were now seventeen refugees from Cambodia and two from El Salvador. After a tour, Morishita told me excitedly that the Cambodians were Buddhist; but they didn't speak Japanese of course, so English, some pretty broken, linked the two groups of Buddhists. After a fine country supper, I heard Mercury muttering something about tonight's schedule and "maximum exposure." Then the Cambodians and Salvadorans joined us for worship, beginning with an imaginative play written by the children with some help. Explained in Khmer and Spanish, it dealt with Beauty, Power, and Money -- the three Great Evils. Then came readings from the Old Testament: David and Goliath, the conquering of Canaan, with shocking militaristic language ("Cut off the head of the Philistine dog", etc.) I wondered whether the Cambodians had heard rhetoric like this recently, and what kind of impression this gave them of Christianity. But an apology followed: the stories connected to defeating the three Great Evils. After the service I stepped outside for fresh air. Shima joined me. He felt as I had about the program. Jubilee Farms did excellent work, but the service was disappointing. Shima told me that seventy per cent of the Cambodian people had been killed in the past two decades. It was easy to compare the U.S. wars in Indochina with the present one in Central America. Will the United States do to Central America what it did to Indochina? Will we destroy it in order to save it? When we went back inside, popcorn had been popped and was being passed around. The faces of the refugees were happy.
page 20March 1, Arnoldsville to Washington It was really spring-like today. However, because of a sore ankle, I didn't take my turn with the banner but limped behind, at the end of the walk. We were scheduled as lunch guests of Gene Smith in Lexington. He was sheriff of Oglethorpe County and had given an interview to the local press about the lunch invitation. He had stated he was going to "show us all the inside of the jail." We had heard about the newspaper article, so wondered whether our invitation was a dubious honor; though we knew we were not going to be arrested, maybe we would be used in some publicity stunt. The sheriff was coming up for re-election soon. But before lunch came two meetings with unusual features. First, coffee and doughnuts hosted by a veterinarian absent on a bovine emergency; the man receiving us didn't tell us his name and feigned deafness. Next, a service before the courthouse statue for Confederate war dead; a churchless preacher who had founded his own religion offered a prayer and I read a few pages from CONFEDERATE GENERAL FROM BIG SUR. A post gave the directions and mileage to all the other Lexingtons on earth. As the time had come to "see the inside of the jail," we climbed the iron steps outside the building and Sheriff Smith met us: a tall man about forty. He smiled widely and shook everyone's hand, giving each his card yet not quite fully at ease. We walked down a short hallway to the kitchen with him and reporters. We were served fried fish with Japanese noodles and vegetables. Gene made it clear to us and the reporters that he paid for the food and its preparation himself -- except the fish, confiscated from a man fishing without a license. We did not get much of a chance to talk with the eheriff, who popped in a couple of times to ask how everything was: just fine. He was holed up with the reporters. I say "holed up" but Morishita and I always said we were "captured" by our media interviewers, thinking of Gandhi's observation after release from prison that now he had less control of his time. Soon it was time to leave. We had seen the sheriff and the hallway of the second floor but we had not seen the jail, though some of us had asked to. We were told it was in the basement, but a tour wasn't offered. We shook hands with the sheriff and the two cooks and said goodbye. We walked on and now passed the junior and senior high schools. A young friend of the Durhams had approached the high school principal but was turned down: our walk would not "do any good." He hadn't gone to the junior high and there, the entire student body and faculty came running out of the building to check us out. We had an unscheduled program and talked as loudly as we could to different groups of excited students, most Black. After ten minutes, we resumed walking and they their classes, first lining behind us and walking to the edge of the school property. Some insisted on carrying our banners. "Man, you all are about the funkiest thing to ever happen to Oglethorpe County," confided one girl. Oglethorpe County was also one of the funkiest things to happen to the Peace March. At our rest break at the local priest's house, Lucy Wilson welcomed us. An FOR member and our Washington coordinator, this congenial woman wore a fur coat. She and five other elderly women, also in fur coats, walked with us the last couple of miles into Washington -- a striking contrast to the core walkers, dressed in jeans and even a colorful blanket or two. We passed large houses with columns in front, houses that, a century ago, could have been homes of plantation owners. Easter lilies were blooming in the yards, our first sign of spring. We were to follow spring northward the next six weeks. Soon it was time for a scheduled program at the Women's Club. We found it and quickly set up our photo exhibit and literature table. We were to sit in a semi-circle in front of an assemblage of some hundred people who seemed to be either professionals or members of the Southern aristocracy, well-dressed, careful and correct of speech. Behind us we saw a gigantic painting of a battle of the War Between the States. Additional chairs had to be brought in; we began to worry. We looked at the well-dressed people, the war painting, the program printed on expensive paper, and thought maybe we were out of place. But we weren't prepared to alter our presentation and gave a very brief version of the program at Emory. We weren't prepared for what followed. The local people gave a better program than we ever gave. Every religious leader of the community was seated on the front row. The "outstanding citizen of the year" was there and was recognized. The superintendent of public education sang a peace solo. A high school art teacher had put together a simulated radio program similar to "Sixty Minutes", called "Radio LOVE". High school students were anchorpersons, reading reports of nuclear weapons accidents and reports of the arms race. Almost everyone there viewed our photo display and signed our petition. We had l5 minutes to reflect on what had happened so far today. Bill and I tried to figure out Sheriff Smith's motives. Not often did a sheriff use his office to welcome a peace march. Ray helped us out: the sheriff needed the vote of Black people to be re-elected; he had helped Ray in exchange for Ray's help in the coming election. After refreshments we met with representatives from the local Jaycees. We were given the Jaycee scroll which stated that they were working for peace; they asked us to take it to SSD-II. During potluck supper a few of us had the opportunity to talk with a young eighth-grade teacher. He was from the Three Mile Island area and aware of the dangers of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. He taught a class of "under-achievers". He asked to take one of our photo booklets to his class to illustrate the dangers of the arms race. He was pessimistic about results, saying he was unable to get his students interested in current events. A couple of days later he would join us at the vigil at Fort Gordon bringing 90 letters from his students for us to take to the UN. They were some of the best letters for disarmament I have read. Most of his students were fifteen or sixteen. Few even knew that nuclear weapons even existed, much less that they had ever been used. When they saw the results of the bombs, each wanted to write. I remember one letter, from a l6-year-old girl, which ended, "I don't want my family to die this way. I don't want to die like this. Please, Mr. Reagan, Stop it!" After supper we divided ourselves into four different categories to sleep in different places. Carole slept in a private house. The monks slept in one church. The non-monk Japanese and the European (Shima, Kurimori, Mercury) slept in another church. The non-monk, non-Japanese, non-European, non-woman group (John, Bill, Andy S., and I) slept in a third church. "Maximizing our exposure." March 2, Washington to Thomson I awoke with a sore and swollen ankle; shouldn't have walked yesterday. Unable to walk, I joined Ray Durham in the support car. And now I could notice things unseen before: the expression on people's faces as they first heard the chant (puzzled), then as they first saw the march (even more puzzled), finally as they began to figure it out. The latter change was excitement, either favorable or antagonistic. One woman in her bathrobe rushed out to shout her hatred: "God damn you Japanese sons of bitches," over and over. After the day's walk I asked Bill what he thought of this woman. He had not heard her above the drumming and chanting. We could see our supporters as they came out to wave, but I wondered how many of those less friendly we had missed. We stopped for lunch beside a small store. Our Washington hosts had fixed a really big meal -- three sandwiches, corn bread, cake, and fruit. March 3, Thomson to Augusta We were driven to the main gate of Ft. Gordon Army Base, some quarter-mile from the main road; those of sound ankle walked. Coordinator Marge Reese and I drove to the gate and gave the young MP some of our literature. We told him who we were and that others were coming to the gate on foot to pray for peace, but wouldn't try to go past the gate nor stay much longer than 15 minutes. He offered no objections; for a second his face showed excitement and -- support? We then drove back toward the others. The march had not gotten far when stopped by an MP who then began talking with Carole. The rest continued toward the gate. Margie and I jumped out of the van and ran up to the MP. He was talking in code on his radio, obviously calling more MPs. Margie interrupted him to say we had just talked with the MP at the front gate; he was totally unsympathetic, said this was a closed base, and ordered us off immediately. Now our tactic was to stall long enough to allow the monks to go through their prayer. The MPs were very nervous. Probably this day had started out like any other day for them, but here were a dozen people walking up to their gate to pray for peace. We had to be the strangest sight they had seen in a long time. First two bearded long-haired men carrying a large banner that called for disarmament. Then four Japanese following in saffron robes and a half-dozen others including a woman carrying a peace flag. Almost all beating on a hand drum and chanting loudly "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo." This gang walked past the MPs, ignoring them. They didn't know how to handle us and, afraid to make any decisions alone, radioed for other MPs. These called their superior officers to inform them of this happening. At the gate, we were met not by one or two MPs but by about a dozen, lined across the road. All had rifles ready except for two with machine guns. No way were we going to pass the gate. The monks began their prayer as soon as they got to the gate. Margie and I talked again with one of the MPs, to stall for time. They denied permission to pray and remained unaware that the monks were praying already in Japanese. Our stall continued as we recounted the history of the peace march. The monks finished praying and bowed thrice. We told the guards we had just finished our prayer and were walking back to the road. "Thank you very much." Jeeps full of MPs followed the quarter-mile to the public way. We stopped there, just outside the base, now on "our" property. We stayed there for 15 more minutes; there was a lot of traffic entering the base. I was surprised at the large number who responded positively. Many waved or gave the peace sign. At the base entrance, a group of Black GIs were policing the area, picking up trash. Each gave us the clenched fist salute. But a few people gave us the finger and shouted disapproval. At the end of this vigil, Ishiyama noticed that MPs were still watching nervously. He took them a handful of leaflets so each knew who we were. During the rest break, Shima decided he could walk no more today and joined me in the van. He was having trouble with his appendix, as diagnosed in Tokyo some months before; I saw him treat himself several times by a form of acupuncture, placing hot incense on his right inside calf. Co-coordinator Lynn Ferguson now replaced Margie as driver and drove us ahead to her home in Grovetown. While lunch was heating in the oven, I jumped as always at a chance for a hot shower; but while in it heard the drums heralding our arrival. I leaped out and hastily dressed, only to wait twenty minutes. The sound of drumming and chanting really carries. After lunch we got to a shopping center outside Augusta. Thirty people were waiting to walk the final two miles, including Sandy Bishop and Mary Helms. They had driven Mary's green station wagon from Washington state to walk with us the rest of the way. The "FOR SALE" sign in the rear window dampened our hopes of a permanent support vehicle, but then we could have hardly afforded gas to New York, not even for her VW. The media were waiting at another shopping center; one reporter asked whether the mayor would give us the key to Augusta on our arrival as he had indicated a few weeks ago. I had had no contrary message but knew the chances were slim. It would have been bold action in an elected official between Ft. Gordon and the Savannah River Plant. Housing for Sandy and Mary had not been arranged, but my and Andy's hostess Marlene volunteered to host two more to live under a roof already sheltering husband Bill and four children. Bill was a doctor at Ft. Gordon and also a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. The children cheerfully gave up their bedrooms and slept in sleeping bags on the floor downstairs.
page 21March 4, Rest day in Augusta This was a complete rest day, with absolutely nothing planned for us. We all slept late. Around noon, Marlene drove me to a store to buy another pair of jeans. She told me that she had received a call from a neighbor this morning, inquiring about her house guests. The neighbor had seen the VW, with the "FOR SALE" sign, parked on the street. She thought that a bunch of hippies were moving into the neighborhood. Visions of Charles Manson were probably flashing through her mind. But no more. Mary sold the car this afternoon. Last night at supper, Andy S. had volunteered to fix supper tonight. He said he was going to fix a big pot of dill pickle soup. I thought he was joking, but it turned out he was serious. He put in a couple of quarts of dill pickles, some cabbage, and a few other vegetables. True to its name, it tasted a lot like dill pickles, but most of it was eaten. Bill had to leave after supper for a meeting regarding a lawsuit that was being brought against a local company. His specialty was industrial diseases. During his practice when the family had lived in Augusta before, he had noticed a high incidence of bladder cancer among employees of a certain factory. He had brought this to the attention of the factory and other "responsible" authorities and thought no more of the matter until the family moved back to Augusta. Then he found nothing had been done to correct the situation: the employees were getting bladder cancer. Others in he community set up a group to study the situation and then brought suit against the company, charging that it knowingly exposed its employees to conditions causing bladder cancer. March 5, Rest day in Augusta #2 This was a day with no walking but plenty of talking. Early in the morning we divided ourselves into three groups. One group went to talk to some high school classes, then went to a noon talk program at the local public radio station. The second went to the medical school at Augusta College. The third went to Paine College, a predominantly Black college. All were to meet at Paine College for an afternoon program, which was first scheduled for twenty minutes. But there were so many phoning in that it was expanded to an hour. The second group took the photo display to the student lounge of the med school and talked with interested students. We who visited Paine College were less well received. We talked to a freshman English class. The teacher had not told the students we would be there. In fact the teacher did not come but sent another teacher to introduce us. I guess he was sent also to insure that the students didn't leave before the fifty-minute class was over. We sat in chairs at the front of the room. Each of us talked for about five minutes, to leave time for discussion afterward. About a third of the students were in ROTC and were wearing their army fatigues. I tried to make eye contact with them, but their minds seemed somewhere else. One young man though was interested in what we were saying. He was from Cameroon, in Africa. He asked pointed questions on how we thought the Third World countries viewed the East-West arms race. Morishita could answer him from experience, having spent the last two years walking in India and Africa. He had walked along the Sahara and, while in Nigeria, Cameroon's northern neighbor, had met with leaders of the disarmament movement there. The Nigerian ambassador to the UN was a leading Third World voice for disarmament. Morishita said that the East-West conflict seemed ludicrous to most Third World people, whose problem was staying alive from one day to the next. Next we held a program in a large auditorium. We were told that several large classes which met at this time had been dismissed so the students could hear us. We waited over ten minutes to start, but only one person came in -- the student registrar. She was interested in what we were doing; we gave our regular program. After being treated to lunch by a professor, we went to the Paine student union with our photos and pamphlets. I talked with one youth describing himself as Rastafarian. He quoted from one of Bob Marley's songs, "The only solution is total destruction." I asked why he chose this line, rather than the idea Marley put forth in his very last song. "Have no fear for atomic energy, cause none of them can stop the time." March 6, Augusta to SRP About 20 people, including Ngoebaemba Samuel (the Cameroonian student) joined us for the walk through Augusta and to the Savannah River Plant. SRP was DuPont's plant to manufacture the plutonium and tritium used to make nuclear bombs. Our prayer vigil at SRP was one of the most emotional and powerful experiences of the entire walk. First we walked twice through downtown Augusta with our chant echoing loudly from the stores. Some folks would stand with their backs to us until we had passed them on the sidewalk, then turn and stare. Leaving downtown, we walked along "Atomic Boulevard." To cover the thirty miles to SRP by 3 o'clock we had to be driven fifteen, getting on foot again some ten miles out. During lunch, two cars of families pulled off the road to join us. As we turned left to walk to DOE, our emotional intensity was at one of its highest levels ever. At the turn, we were near one of the principal components of the nuclear weapons industry. If this was not the "heart of the monster," it was at least one of the monster's vital organs. It's hard to describe our feelings, but clearly all of us felt the increased intensity of energy, as we prayed for the end of plutonium-making, that substance well-named after the god of hell. There were frequent yellow signs on trees, warning that this was restricted government property; others warned of proximity to radioactive material. Now the Buddhist chant took on spiritual meaning. This really was a prayer for world peace, a prayer against "great evil." Before, the chant had helped keep my mind focused on what I was doing. The great beauty through which we walked, the people we saw, all was threatened with nuclear annihilation. The chant had always helped me walk more meditatively; it had helped me walk 15 to 20 miles a day, even in bad weather. But now it took on a significance of a higher level and, as Morishita had said in Louisiana, that meaning "not translatable, but deep. I myself do not think that I know its full meaning." Walking behind the monks, for these three last miles into SRP, was truly a pilgrimage. This day was more a pilgrimage than the day we arrived at the UN on June 7. In the middle of this bright sunny afternoon, we arrived at the DoE administration office. The 30-odd of us lined up along the shoulder of the road. More than a hundred DOE employees came out and lined up facing us. Many were security people; most were just curious. After about ten minutes of chanting "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo", the monks read a special prayer from the Lotus Sutra. During the whole vigil a female security guard took everyone's picture, from every possible angle. She used an old camera with a flash attachment. The only time I'd seen a similar camera was in old RKO black and white movies. She went methodically down the line, stood about three feet from each of us and got mug shots. She even took pictures of our support vehicles; license plate numbers were written down. March 7, Rest day in Augusta #3 When we woke up, we found that the weather had changed again. The temperature was close to freezing, and it was raining and windy. Although today was a rest day, there were important things to do. The walkers had been invited to attend two different church services; one was Quaker, the other Unitarian. Most of us, including all the monks, attended the Quaker service. John, Bill, Mary, and I attended the Unitarian service. The Unitarian Church in Augusta has speakers from their congregation speak on various topics. Several months ago, the schedule had been set for a nuclear physicist who had worked at the Savannah River Project to take his turn. His topic was "How do you justify that?" meaning how does a radical humanist justify making the most deadly substance known? How does he justify making nuclear weapons? Two weeks ago his topic was announced in the church bulletin. The physicist was aware that the peace walk was to hold a prayer vigil at SRP today. In the bulletin he had mentioned the vigil and stated that "our objectives are the same." Barbara Wise, one of our Augusta hosts, was a member of the church. She invited us to attend and respond if our objectives were indeed the same. So we did, eager to hear how a bomb-maker justified his work within a humanist ideology. However, we did not obtain this justification. He had worked at SRP for almost 30 years, making plutonium. At the start of his talk, he stated that each year he gave a similar sermon. He began by trying to give a "balanced" report on the disarmament movement in Europe; he gave no mention of that movement in the United States. But it wasn't a fair review though he did read briefly from the "New Yorker" series, Jonathan Schell's "The Fate of the Earth". He said people were afraid of nuclear war but these fears were manipulated by the Soviet Union into anti-American demonstrations. He would not -- or could not -- conceive that people were opposed to nuclear weapons altogether and that their opposition had nothing to do with how societies choose to organize themselves. After fifteen minutes of reading from press reports, he again stated that he was about to "justify that." We sat attentively, waiting to hear the explanation. But we could not believe what he heard. He used the "Lord of the Rings" as an analogy. Since others had the "magic ring" for evil, then we must possess the "magic ring" for good. He neglected to point out that in the book Frodo's mission was to destroy the ring. It could not possibly be used for good. And this was the extent of his justification. In the beginning he had told us that all his friends and associates "consider me a fool." The people at work considered him too liberal because he attended the Unitarian Church. The people in the church considered him foolish for working at SRP. He wished that the Baptist Church next door, as well as the other churches, believed in peace as Unitarians did. Then perhaps we would have a chance for peace. But alas -- only the Unitarians believed in peace -- and certainly not the Russians. Therefore we had to have the magic ring. He had spoken 30 minutes. We asked for ten to reply, but were denied. We could only speak from the floor and ask questions like other members of the congregation. So Bill brought out the connection between the nuclear energy and nuclear weapons industries. I didn't want to debate the "magic ring" analogy, but spoke instead of the overkill ability of US and USSR, both. I pointed out too that nuclear weapons were already killing more people by depriving Third World countries of needed resources to feed the starving. Now, Augusta was the first place where we had been sponsored by traditional peace churches like the Friends and the Unitarians. Most of the time we had been sponsored by Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, etc.; so I knew they too were working for peace nowadays and had strong feelings when the physicist said the Unitarian was the only church working for peace. I admired the pacifists in Augusta. If anyone had a reason to give up the faith and become cynical, they had. They had the bomb plant on one side, the military base on the other. Most of their neighbors worked at one of the two or had relatives who did. To criticize SRP was definitely to take on the power structure in Augusta. Yet this pocket of resistance continued through the years -- and maintained enthusiasm. Morishita decided we should have a meeting tonight since we had three new walkers. We wanted this to be a relaxed meeting in which we would get to know the new walkers a little better, and they us. Shima and Ishiyama surprised most of us by announcing they would probably leave this march in two weeks to join the march originating from Montreal April l. The reason for this was that there were six Japanese on this walk and only one or two on that one. So now it seemed the core group would change again, after changing already this weekend. Now there were nine men and four women; three days ago the break-down was eleven and one. It was good to have walkers with new enthusiasm. Plus, it was good to get walkers who approached the disarmament issue from a feminist perspective. We now gathered the letters from Rick's eighth-grade class in Washington, and took turns reading them out loud. After finishing, we sent the letters ahead to our New York office for later presentation to the United Nations. Some were translated into other languages and published in a Southeast Asia magazine.
page 22March 8, SRP to Aiken, S.C. We got up early as usual. Also as usual, I fumbled around as I made coffee. I'd forgotten the date until Carole came into the kitchen and wished me HAPPY BIRTHDAY. She gave me a bracelet she had knitted. Today would be "normal" as days go on this walk, but it was a most unusual birthday among the birthdays of my life. Although still cold, the weather was lots warmer than the day before, which our ten "guest walkers" from Augusta and Aiken must have appreciated. We all cheered as we crossed the Savannah River into our fifth state, South Carolina, though Georgia had been good to us. Arriving early in Aiken, we had lunch in a park and decided on a two-hour lunch break there. But the police, assigned to "watch over you" and uninterested in watching us sun ourselves and tying up two patrol cars, insisted we walk on. So we did, accepting what can happen inside a city's limits and walking for three hours though one hour would have brought us to our destination. We had planned to hold a vigil at 4 o'clock by the road as the traffic went by with SRP commuters heading home from making plutonium and tritium. We would hold up the large photo displays of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb victims. We wanted people to see the possible end results of the fruits of their labor. But now we had to walk for three hours. The police told us to follow them. They would take us around for three hours and show us the sights. We had an escort in front and another behind. First they took us down the rural road beside the recreation department where we had eaten. This led into a rural area. After a mile or so, a sign said "county landfill." The police were showing us the sights. They continued; we walked constantly for over two hours. The streets were lined with huge trees, their limbs stretching across the road, leaves just coming green. We walked through the downtown area of Aiken twice, and the escort car turned for a third pass, but we stopped walking -- had they wanted to see how long we'd go before dropping? -- and arranged to be driven back to the recreation department for the vigil. Traffic was heavy and cars slowed almost to a stop to see what we were doing. Our photos horrified them, judging from their faces which revealed unconcealed surprise, their chins dropping. After half an hour we ended the vigil. We were to stay with five families and were surprised to learn that tomorrow would be another rest day, after it had been rumored that our next rest day would be in Charlotte, N.C. Bill and I were to stay with Rob and Shelia Toole, students at U.S.C. Aiken. Just a few days ago Shelia had agreed to do most of the organizing for us here. It was evidently the first time she had done anything like this, and the first few minutes were a little awkward. Shelia asked Bill and me, "Just how did you manage to get mixed up in this? uh... I mean, how did you join?' The ice was broken. Soon we were talking away. March 9, Rest day in Aiken I slept until mid-morning, then spent most of the day writing letters. Rob and Shelia's house was just a few blocks from the downtown area. I walked downtown to pick up a newspaper. Yesterday I had done nearly an hour interview with a local reporter. Now I found the resulting article on page five: two sentences deep in a column labelled, "Around Aiken." It said: l.The World Peace March arrived yesterday. 2.Some marchers would speak at U.S.C.-Aiken. Rob told me that paper would report nothing against nuclear technology. The Three Mile Island accident didn't even make page one --: newspaper-SRP ties were that strong. Another explanation in our case was that the editor was out of town. Reporters might have been afraid to print an anti-nuke story without his prior approval. As we left Aiken the next day the entire town was talking about us, but almost no one knew what was going on. So much for the free press. March 10. Aiken to Monetta The walk today was enjoyable after yesterday's rest. Four of the past five days had been non-walking, and my ankle was almost completely healed. Further, the weather was just about perfect, with temperature in the 70's. We walked up U.S. l through farm lands and forested areas, now and then past a cluster of houses or an old service station. The people from these service stations were sometimes friendly, sometimes downright hostile. I remember one older farmer who wanted us to stop and talk some more. One of us had given him some of our literature and had talked with him briefly. But we couldn't stop more than a couple of minutes with anyone, then running to catch up. Ahead of schedule at a roadside park, we stopped a while, and Jane was questioning Ishiyama about marriage rules for monks and nuns. His father was a monk, his mother a nun; they had been married before entering Nipponzan Myohoji. He said the marriage commitment might conflict with one's religious duties. Off to the right, Nagase and Sakamaki were playing "baseball", Sakamaki pitching pine cones, Nagase hitting them out of the park, his smooth swing reminding me he had been a professional ballplayer. That evening at Rob and Shelia's (we would be driven back to our stopping point tomorrow morning), Bill and I watched the news and viewed our first report on the rapidly growing nuclear freeze movement. What we had seen across the South was happening nation-wide. The Kennedy-Hatfield freeze bill had been introduced in the Senate, co-sponsored by a quarter of the members of Congress. The day before, in town meetings across New Hampshire, people had voted overwhelmingly for the freeze. In Vermont voters had done the same earlier that week, making the most encouraging national news we had heard in a very long time. But we were quickly brought back to earth. The next report told of the CIA program, approved by Reagan, to destabilize Nicaragua. As a birthday present, Nagase gave me a picture of the peace pagoda which the monks and nuns had just constructed in Milton Keynes, England -- the first peace pagoda in Western Europe. The Labor Party had asked Nipponzan Myohoji to build it in one of their model cities, established after World War II when the Labor Party was in power in the UK. At the time of our walk, the local government at the Trident submarine base near Seattle was refusing a building permit for a Buddhist peace pagoda. These pagodas are to radiateÖ..peace. During the evening, Ishiyama doctored Mary's blistered feet. She decided her feet were too sore to walk on for a few days, so she was to leave us in the morning to visit a great-aunt in Florida and expected to rejoin near Charlotte. March 11, Monetta to Leesville Around l o'clock we found ourselves waiting at an abandoned house for Shelia to arrive from Aiken with a forgotten prayer banner -- and lunch. We were visited by a young Episcopal priest, Bill Melnick, noticing us from his nearby church. He had opposed the Vietnam era peace demonstrations; now he saw the war as wrong. Then four Black youths rode up on bicycles and stayed to talk. And now Shelia with sandwiches, even ice cream. There was plenty for everyone. During lunch, Rev. Melnick decided he agreed with us and wanted to show support publicly. So he called the local newspaper to tell them about this story, then walked with us on into Leesville, about three miles. He left after telling us he planned a sermon on disarmament for that Sunday. I should have told about the reporter who had responded to Rev. Melnick's call. She had been nervous, said excitedly this was the biggest story this town had ever seen, and couldn't get the camera to focus properly. That interview took most of the three miles. It was still early afternoon when we arrived at our hosts', the Mitchells. Mr. Mitchell and his father were filling in a trench in their backyard, to cover a new water pipe. I grabbed a shovel and, all working really hard, we finished before supper. The Mitchells' neighbor came over shortly before supper, suspicious of us. She told the Mitchells to watch that we did not steal anything during the night, as we all listened.
page 23March l2, Leesville to Lexington The weather continued warm, more spring-like every day. This day we walked past lots of peach orchards, in full bloom. Apple trees were blooming too. The white and lavendar flowers were glorious. I was thinking of the morning parting in Leesville, where the women's hostess, deeply touched by her visitors, said that if any of them wished to continue on a peace walk in Europe that summer, to let her know. She wanted to request her church congregation to sponsor their plane fare. She cried as we left. We stopped at the edge of an orchard for lunch. Sakamaki leaned the prayer banner against a peach tree, knocking off a few flowers. Mercury walked over and picked up the fallen blossoms, sternly warning Sakamaki against leaning the banner against any other fruit trees, destroying more peaches. For Buddhists, wasting food is a big sin. We had counted on l5 miles today; it turned out to be 21. It sounds crazy, but each mile past eighteen seemed like two to me. We arrived at the Lexington church where we were to spend the night. It was about six o'clock. This was last-minute hospitality, due to a minister friend of Rev. Melnick, which saved our being driven ahead to Columbia for the night. His friend knew nothing about us beyond our need for shelter, but the family greeted and welcomed us, his wife saying to Jane "You mean, you are one of them!" Jane at 25 looked like a middle-class college student and after this tried to look less wholesome and clean-cut. . We all slept in an old small house that was used for children's Sunday school classes. Its walls were covered with 8" by l0" crayon drawings and lettering, and there was a large chart with each student's name. A solid matrix of gold stars testified to perfect attendance. . Tom from Columbia drove Carole, Mercury, and Sandy to the grocery store. They came back with $25 worth of vegetables for supper, so we had plenty of soup and salad. Carole, Mercury, Bill, Kurimori, Jane, Sandy, and Mary were vegetarians. The rest of us didn't require meat but would eat whatever was put before us by our wonderful hosts. It was hard to keep to a vegetarian diet on the peace walk. After supper we met to discuss the schedule in Columbia. Bill chaired the meeting as current group leader. Since this was the first night where we had all stayed together since Grovetown we had several things to discuss. Yet we stuck to our agenda items, and the meeting lasted only an hour or so. Toward its end, the minister, his wife, and another couple stopped in to see how we were doing. (We were fine.) They couldn't stay, being on the way to see the movie "Missing" about political kidnapping/murder in Chile. Sandy asked whether they would like to walk with us tomorrow. He answered, "Oh, no. I've got to get my exercise tomorrow. I'm playing tennis." We let the topic drop. Afterward we dispersed into three of the four rooms. Bill, Jane, and I took the middle room, supposedly to go to sleep. The Japanese gathered next door and stayed up past midnight, writing letters and talking. On the other side, Carole, Mercury, and Sandy also stayed up late, playing guitar and singing. There was one song they sang at least a half dozen times a day, a simple song that went as follows. "This sacred ground we walk upon, with every step we take, this sacred ground we walk upon, with every step we take." Then followed an Indian chant. "Hey, yun-ga, Hey, yun, yun, Hey, yun-ga, Hey yun-ga, Hey, yun, yun. The earth is our mother, we must take care of her. The earth is our mother, we must take care of her." Then, repeat, over, and over. I liked Carole and Mercury a lot. But I didn't really want to hear about "walking every step" after twenty miles of walking from which I greatly wanted to rest. They also sang many other songs that night. March l3, Lexington to Columbia We got up early to prepare breakfast, wakened by the monks at morning prayers. There was little food left in our food box, but we managed a soup from the evening's leftovers, mostly cabbage. People from the Columbia Friends Meeting and two local Buddhists joined us for the walk into Columbia. The Buddhists told us they also chanted "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo" every day. Today's walk was supposed to be ten miles but was fifteen. Bright sun again was giving us all sunburn, as previously in southern Alabama. The teenage and pre-teen students around the Columbia area were a puzzle to us. Almost every day a school bus would pass by us and students would put their heads out and shout and wave enthusiastically, wild and happy. But here the shouts came from individuals and sounded like jeers and hate. We heard many rebel yells around Columbia and, the day before, US l had been a continuous cacophony of honking horns. So we were glad it was Saturday and we were glad to arrive at the capitol grounds at 2 o'clock. But our hosts had not been told to meet us, and we had missed a lunch date with them. We had drunk all our water during a rest break. So we sat down under large shade trees and took the food box from the van and got ready for cabbage sandwich. It was 4 o'clock before the confusion had been straightened and the last host arrived. Meanwhile, four security guards for the capitol paid us a visit. They first insisted we sit upright and not lean against the large trees. I asked why. They said this was a rule to keep drunks away, and I had to agree with their logic. If I were drunk, that would keep me away from the capitol. Sakamaki had disassembled the prayer banner and put it in its black cloth carrying case. The guards wanted to know what it was -- a weapon? Sandy said it was a weapon for peace, taking them a bit aback; but they didn't check the bag. Now they wanted identification from everyone. Collins Baker wanted to know what was troubling them; it emerged they feared our camping on the grounds, our permit for vigilling on the capitol steps the next day changed them dramatically, and they left us alone then. March l4, Rest day in Columbia Sunday. I slept til l0:30, then phoned my brother Doug in Durham. He hoped to join us for a week, maybe near Greensboro. He had already seen lots of leaflets and posters around Durham announcing the peace walk's arrival in a month. Mrs. Baker, Bill, and I left to attend the one-hour prayer vigil at the capitol. This was just a few blocks from the USC campus but it was spring break. There were about 50 at the vigil, with two carloads from Aiken, and with lots of TV coverage. When we got back to the house, we had a free afternoon in warm and sunny weather. I spent the time on the back porch, writing letters. There was always a need to write. In every town there were three or four people who did a special amount of work to insure the success of the peace walk as well as our own safety and comfort. Carole, Mercury, and I kept the addresses of these people, so as to write letters of appreciation. Some of them we were able to write several times, by giving them our forwarding addresses three or four weeks ahead. So we would often spend one or two hours a night -- and sometimes six to eight hours of our rest days -- writing. Despite this it seemed we were always at least two weeks behind in our correspondence. Today was Bill's last day as group leader. Tomorrow I would have the job as far as Charlotte. The phone rang a lot this afternoon with problems about housing and speaking arrangements for the next few days. In one instance, the Board of Education in Winnsboro had threatened to revoke its permission for us to use the school gymnasium for an interfaith service. They charged that we were communists. There was not much that I could do with this besides let Kate and Collins try to resolve the problem. They were still working on this when it was time for the interfaith service here, to begin at 7:30. A visible change would occur in a group leader's behavior a few days into the job. He or she would become more tense, smile less and less each day. I promised myself I would stay calm and not let anything upset me. But by the end of the second day out of Columbia, I realized that I had become tense and worrisome. And this knowledge did not help at all. Tonight's interfaith service was held at the Catholic church. This was the first time that we had shown the slide show entitled, "A Message for Tomorrow" and the first time that most of us had seen it. We received the slides some time back, but the tape recording was in Japanese. We had to send the tape to the New York office of Mobilization for Survival for translation, which they kindly did for us. Most of the slides show the effects of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The speaker gives an eyewitness account of a young school girl. Her mother and sister had been killed by the bomb. Only she and her father remained alive, and she describes the days in Hiroshima immediately after the bomb fell, the horrors of people dying from radiation sickness, and the death of her father a month later from it. She recalled his last words, "The wind is blowing. The wind is blowing." After seeing these slides, we could more easily understand why the monks and nuns of Nipponzan Myohoji had dedicated their lives to nuclear disarmament. It was no puzzle why Kurimori, a native of Hiroshima, had quit a high-paying job in Japan to join the peace walk. The real puzzle was, why had not all the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left their jobs to walk to the UN with us? Shima, the construction worker, would leave us tomorrow to take a bus to New York. He would join either the walk from Montreal or the one from Maine. Ishiyama had decided to remain with us.
page 24March l5, Columbia to Winnsboro The total distance between the two cities was thirty miles. We could walk this far but then not be able to walk far the next day. For this reason we were driven about ten miles after lunch. There was a bitter cold rain, lasting all day; we were more comfortable walking than during our lunch or rest breaks. We all had rain suits or ponchos, so we could keep dry for a while. But we found no way to walk all day in rain and stay dry. We put large plastic bags over the heads of the drums; water would damage their untreated leather. The wet plastic muffled the drums' beat, which nevertheless helped focus our minds on the meditation of the chant and on that beat rather than on our cold wet bodies. We had assembled at the South Carolina capitol. Shima had been there to say good-bye. We hated to see him go and looked forward to seeing him in New York in a few months. As we left, he had been beating his drum, chanting, and bowing to us. Many people had joined for the three-mile walk through Columbia, including six seminary students and a young woman with two children. As we were leaving the city we saw eight Catholic nuns lined up on the sidewalk. The sisters were clapping loudly and cheering as we walked past. At l:30, we still had more than ten miles to walk to Winnsboro. The next few hours were uneventful yet a test of will. It was close to 32 degrees, with rain driven by a hard wind. We resisted the temptation of riding a few miles in a support vehicle; the thought of not walking never really entered our minds. We had to walk as many steps as possible on the journey to New York, as a matter of principle. The highway patrol met us about five miles outside Winnsboro. They told me, group leader today, that the Board of Education had withdrawn its permission to use the high school gymnasium for tonight's program. They would not even allow us to use the school property as an assembly point for the hosts to pick us up at the end of the walk. This I thought too much but nothing could be done about it now. I told Jerry the problem, and he drove ahead to find another assembly point. At an afternoon rest break we met a photographer from the Rock Hill paper and two reporters from Time magazine. We had heard for a month that Time planned an article on the walk, but the expected reporters had never come. Another alert to expect them had come this morning, but we had thought nothing of it and now they were really there and wanting to take pictures of our walk through Winnsboro -- and to attend tonight's program, alas. With the cancellation, they decided now to interview townspeople as we walked through, coming to talk with us later in the evening. . Three or four local people joined us and, entering the town, we saw the mill of "Winnsboro Cotton Mills Blues" fame. I sang as much of the song as I remembered, with John helping over blank places. There were six or seven police cars parked by the mill. Time's photographer wanted us to cross the street, to get the mill in the background, but the police would not permit us to cross. Despite our problems with the school, passersby were very friendly as we walked through, many waving. The police stood at every intersection to stop traffic for us, and we walked directly to our hosts' house. Our hosts were a young doctor couple, Jan and Ellen, and we now decided to stay together, in this one house, so Time could talk to everyone. After washing and drying our wet clothes, and pot luck supper arranged by Jan and Ellen, the reporters returned. They had spent the last two hours interviewing people. The Chief of Police, opposed to our mission, told them that the country needed a good war: "People can't find jobs. During the Vietnam War, there was plenty of work. You can't even get a job in the cotton mill now." They had quotes supporting us as well, and many spoke up for Jerry for helping us. Some called him the "local disarmament preacher", a label surprising Jerry when he heard it. The local editor interviewed us too, and took pictures of the Time photographer taking our picture. Time's presence in Winnsboro was as big a story as ours. After about an hour, "Meet the Press" concluded. A couple of weeks later, we found the story in Time, by looking hard. There were four sentences about the walk in a general article about the peace movement in the South. Newsweek had indicated several times they would cover the walk but had not mentioned it, even as we got to New York; they finally gave two-sentence mention in a two-page article on the June l2th rally. The national media in the United States all but ignored the five peace marches that crossed the country. March 16, Winnsboro to Chester Each day is intense now, with much to do -- very different from our first month. I was awakened, not by the usual sound of the monks' praying, but by singing. It was Carole, Mercury, Jane, and Sandy's new morning prayer, a half-hour of group singing. With the monks' chanting and drumming, and the quartet's singing, there was no way to sleep past 6:30. Bill and I alone formed a third prayer group; our prayer mode was sleep and we requested that our prayer of deep meditation be equally respected and not be disturbed. Kate called with last-minute instructions regarding today's schedule. In Chester we were to wait outside the city hall, where we would be picked up at 5 o'clock by three drivers from Columbia, who would take us to a motel. Private accommodations couldn't be found, and a local minister paid for our four rooms out of his own pocket. With this prospect, we left Winnsboro, continuing north now on route 321. The Time reporters saw us off and wished us well. Today Ishiyama gave Jane a Japanese-English dictionary and she began her first of many lessons in speaking Japanese. A former school teacher, she proved an adept student. We reached the Chester city hall at four and tried to follow Kate's demand that we stay right there waiting for our rides. The police would not allow this: once we stopped walking our parade became a demonstration -- our parade permit didn't allow standing. So we went to a restaurant; I learned more about Mercury's culture when he put mayonnaise on his French fries. In Chester we met two problems in economy, and failed to solve either. First, it turned out we had a local coordinator after all, Anne Peterson, a young woman who met us at the city limits and told us she had found accommodations for us. But the motel had been paid for. (It turned out Anne's phone had recently been disconnected, so Kate hadn't been able to reconfirm that Chester was ready for us.) Second, the manager of a dry-cleaning store noticed us at the city hall, came over, and offered to drive us to the motel. But we had no way to contact three cars coming 55 miles from Columbia to do this carry, and didn't want them to arrive with nothing to do for us after their long drive. (The manager did drive us to the city limits next morning; we chatted some more; I had told him about my grandfather's boyhood in Chester, and I had other relatives in the area still.) The people from Columbia drove right back after dropping us at the motel; I felt bad they had taken time off their jobs. The Columbia Friends had really been supportive. At supper, Anne told us of the ongoing civil rights struggle in Chester. Not long ago a young Black man had been arrested for breaking into a hardware store owned by a city councilman. While the man was in handcuffs, the owner asked him why he had broken in. The man replied he was innocent. The owner struck him across the face, calling him a "black son of a bitch." Later the owner pleaded guilty of assault. Blacks in Chester demanded he resign as councilman; he refused; people began to organize for his resignation. They held a demonstration after the city denied them a permit for one; many were arrested. That night a meeting was scheduled to discuss strategy. Anne, seeing our interest, invited us to attend but her husband returned an hour later, upset. The chairperson of the meeting asked him to withdraw our invitation to avoid charges of "outside interference", although the meeting was supposed to be open. Though we had asked for no part in the program, only wanting to learn more about the struggle for civil rights in Chester, we complied. Anne was clearly disappointed for us.
page 25March l7, Chester to Rock Hill We started with salad for breakfast, then a rainy morning, and no lunch until 2:30 after a mix-up on who was to bring it. The confusion was due to our walking today rather than resting in Chester, where tension was feared. We appreciated the concern but found the people in Chester most friendly, except for antagonism from bureaucrats in the police department. But such antagonism can arise anywhere. So we would rest in Rock Hill instead, and now Tim, a seminary student, brought us copies of the Rock Hill Herald, which had a large color picture of us on page one. The article was titled, "Monks, others brave mist". The article was primarily for human interest, dealing mainly with our lunch break. But Tim told us the paper had already run two articles on nuclear weapons in anticipation of our visit. Today's lead-off editorial supported us, calling us a manifestation of a truly grassroots movement for nuclear disarmament. In Rock Hill we found the reception extremely friendly. People had had a chance to read the newspaper and knew who we were. It took us almost an hour to walk to the other side of the city. Everywhere people were waving at us and blowing their horns. Around 6 o'clock we reached our goal, the "Oratorio" at Winthrop College. The Oratorio is a sort of combination seminary and monastery for Catholic priests and nuns; we ate supper with some of them. It was spring break at Winthrop; we gave no program. March l8, Rest day in Rock Hill All day visitors came by to talk with us. After lunch I went to my room to focus on an article on the peace walk, requested by the Washington Peace Center. Morishita had two conversations worth reporting, the first with a graduate student from the People's Republic of China. This young woman was interested in Morishita's motivation as a monk; he was interested in the treatment of religious people in China. Though a philosophical clash of science and religion, the talk was good-natured and tolerant. His second conversation was with a Winthrop student whose role for their model U.N. was that of Japanese representative. Naturally she wanted Morishita's views on her role. March l9, Rock Hill, S.C. to Charlotte, N.C. We crossed a state line again. The walk has crossed five states, over 900 miles; almost half the route was now walked. Early in the morning a driver pulled off the road and talked with one of us. She returned a few hours later with a large shopping bag full of cheese sandwiches. Rock Hill people had also prepared a lunch for us so we had plenty to eat. The Charlotte people met us outside the city, picked up our gear, and carried us to Myers Park Baptist Church. Our coordinators thought it was unsafe for us to walk into town on the very narrow shoulders, in heavy traffic. The Mecklenburg Peace Network coordinated our stay. It is a strong network, including SANE and a Friends Meeting. Before supper, a Charlotte man phoned about joining the walk. We arranged to meet, but he didn't show up at the meeting-place. Twice more he phoned; twice more he failed to come. I never met him. Supper was at 6 o`clock in the church cafeteria. For the first time tickets were sold to our supporters, but at a reasonable price and for the walk treasury, and they didn't have to prepare a covered dish. There was live bluegrass and folk music; about 90 attended the banquet. During the banquet, Jean Wood of SANE told me that Pete Seeger would be in Charlotte tomorrow to give two concerts. If interested, we could all get tickets through her to go to the afternoon concert. Only the four Americans had ever heard of Pete, but we were excited about hearing him. After we listed some of the songs he had written, the monks and Kurimori wanted to hear him too. (We had sung some of his songs at many of our interfaith services: Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream was Sakamaki's favorite English song.) Only Carole and Mercury did not want to attend. They wanted no planned event on tomorrow's rest day. I wrote a few lines to Seeger, explaining what we were doing, and asked him to support us if possible by walking a few steps with us when we left Charlotte the day after tomorrow. Bailey Irwin of the World Peace Campaign had written him a similar letter. WPC is a network of peace groups in junior high and high schools. Members were between ten and sixteen, and autonomous of adult groups, raising their own funds, publishing their own newsletter, and holding their own peace vigils, for which they obtained the permits themselves. The young people of the World Peace Council gave us a lot of inspiration. After supper we went to our largest interfaith service to date. The sanctuary was large and was filled. All Charlotte area religions were represented -- this was the first time we had a speaker from the Islamic faith. When the minister rose to speak, he held up the fallout shelter sign from outside the church. The church could not be a safe shelter for people in the event that a one-megaton nuclear weapon exploded on Charlotte, he said, and therefore the sign would not be displayed on the church again. We were all renewed by the last five hours of activities in Charlotte; I felt especially good to be back in my home state. March 20, Rest day in Charlotte This was a rest day with much to do. On this my last day as group leader I spent time on the phone early in the morning. Jean Wood had gotten us tickets to the Pete Seeger concert. The Mecklenburg Peace Network paid for them, $7.00 each. I called the various hosts so all walkers would know we had the tickets. The monks were all staying at Belmont Abbey monastery; when I called, they were attending a mass. The receptionist did not know there were Buddhist monks on the grounds but took my unlikely message: "To Rev. Morishita. We got the tickets to the Pete Seeger concert, at 3 o'clock. We will assemble at 2 o'clock at NCNB plaza for short prayer vigil before walking to Spirit Theater." Now I called my sister Dena in Lenoir, 75 miles away. She had made plans for her family to visit me today. On calling, I found that my father was to go into the hospital that day and have tests the next day for possible by-pass surgery, with the results known the day after that. I resolved to stay with the walk but phone Dena every night. The bus could get me to Lenoir in hours. Next I called Hazel Staley, state president of the N.C. Federation of the Blind (I had been secretary) for a little shop talk. Finally, I called Jerry Lanier, a college friend and now history professor at UNC-Charlotte. We met for lunch, and Jerry added to our reminisces of bygone campus days an anecdote from his trip to the first UN Special Session on Disarmament in l978. He'd ridden there in a station wagon with Catholic priests and nuns; while in New York, he sent a card to his father in eastern North Carolina. When his father saw him later he asked, "Son, what is this about you going to a peace demonstration in New York? Don't you know peace demonstrations are controlled by the Communists?" "Not this one, dad. I rode up with a car of Catholic priests and nuns." "Catholics! They're worse than the Communists!" his father shouted. Yes, it's good to be in NC and be with old friends, and meet new ones like Jerry's wife Jackie, who left after lunch for her work as a nurse. Jerry drove me to NCNB plaza for a short vigil. We handed out literature and, when all were assembled, walked to the Spirit Theater where the monks continued the standard chant. Pete Seeger came out and I explained the monks' commitment to chant for peace, and hoped he didn't mind. He said he supported us completely and went back in to prepare for the concert. But a bit later the theater manager came out and asked the monks to step forward onto the sidewalk. They did. I told her Seeger supported this and wanted us to continue. She said Seeger did not own the theater. A little time elapsed; another employee told us what was happening: the manager had called the police to have us arrested. It was true the monks were demonstrating without a permit; and the concert would soon begin. I asked that we all go inside and avoid a needless confrontation, Jean Wood and her young daughter Rachel had good front seats; the rest of us had late-bought seats in the balcony -- still good seats. The Woods traded seats with Morishita and Ishiyama. Seeger gave us an excellent concert. With many children in the audience, he sang lots of children's songs, which the adults loved as well. He dedicated two songs to us: one, a Japanese song, he played on his flute; the other was "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream." After the concert we went to the stage to talk with him, along with some fifty others, most asking for his autograph. Morishita quickly pulled out our disarmament petition, to get Seeger's autograph on that, and got a small guitar drawn beside the signature. Ishiyama gave him a copy of "No More A-Bombs". He remembered how to play the song but had forgotten the Japanese lyrics. So as he played it on his guitar, the monks accompanied him, singing in Japanese. It was beautiful. However, Seeger did not say that he would be joining for our walk out tomorrow. We did not wish to embarrass him. We knew he had a late concert tonight and would be busy tomorrow. Still we knew his dedication to peace -- he would have joined us tomorrow if he could have. We parted feeling admiration for each other. The evening included a potluck at the AME Zion church, speeches by two children from the World Peace Campaign, the return from Florida of Mary Helms, and a 90-minute CBS program at Jerry and Jackie Lanier's house on the war in three Central American countries.
page 26March 2l, the first day of spring, Charlotte to Concord Early in the morning it was cloudy and foggy but, later, the sun appeared and it became truly a spring day. We were to gather at the bell tower at UNC-C. More than a hundred people were there to walk the first three miles through Charlotte. This was Sunday, and there were many children with us. We were surprised to see Pete Seeger waiting at the bell tower. He had not told anyone that he would join us. He treated us to half an hour of music while we waited for everyone to arrive. Most of us joined in singing, as we all knew the songs. He and the monks sang "No More A-Bombs". l could tell that he had practiced it since yesterday afternoon. He had said then that it was the first time he had played it in many years. He ended the concert appropriately with "My Rainbow Race". We joined hands in a circle, which filled the area around the bell tower, ending the circle with "We Shall Overcome". Seeger joined us as we left the campus. I did not see how far he walked; some people said he was with us over a mile. That night in Concord, we all stayed at one home. I spent a few hours watching a game in the NCAA basketball tournament. Then I joined the others relaxing in the front yard. Some neighbors were there with us. Ishiyama, who had earned a black belt in high school before becoming a monk, was explaining that he now uses judo only to protect himself, the holds being such that the attacker would not be hurt. I told him I had taken a workshop on nonviolent resistance in case of attack. He asked me to demonstrate the positions and he would use his judo holds to counter them. I got down on all fours, assuming the crouch position to protect my head and vital organs. In less than a second, he had me flipped onto my back. People who had been watching from inside the house rushed out laughing, Morishita the loudest. He had seen Ishiyama demonstrate his abilities before. March 22, Concord to Asheboro We walked 18 miles today but had to be driven 35, much farther than we would have liked. Carole, Mercury, and l2-year-olds Matt and Rachel who had joined us for two days, talked to an assembly of elementary school students in Concord. The talks by Matt and Rachel were especially effective. In the morning a woman pulled off the road to give us $l0 to buy drinks. (We would never use the money on such an extravagance as soft drinks.) She thanked us for walking for her children. Women who gave us financial support invariably expressed similar feelings. They realized we were walking for the future generations as well as for ourselves. I had three newspaper interviews today and was surprised to find that some reporters were completely ignorant, or insensitive, to the issues. This morning I was interviewed by a reporter wearing a NAPA jacket and chewing on a toothpick. One of his first questions was something like, "I guess this means a lot to you, to keep you from getting a job and working?" This was one of the few times a reporter was openly hostile; the other interviews were much more professional. We had a support vehicle with us only at lunch, so we had to carry our water with us all day. The directions were not clear on which roads to take. At one point, we thought that we were lost; later, at another point, we knew we were. For a couple of miles, we walked along various rural roads, far off the main highway. We thought the roads would be short cuts, and we may have saved a few steps but we saw only one person, a telephone repairman who was then at the top of a pole. When he saw us, he started cursing for all he was worth. I thought he was going to fall off the pole, he was so mad. We left a leaflet in his truck. Come to think of it, there was another person, a young medic who stopped and offered to check our feet and to donate bandaids and moleskin. Then there were many more as we approached Asheboro along a busy highway. The motorists were most friendly. A newspaper photographer stopped to talk before taking his pictures. She gave us a gallon jug of OJ. Another woman, whom she didn't know, had given her the juice to give us. We were grateful, having run out of water. Now we found our assembly point, a Quaker church. Quaker churches in this region were huge compared with the small Friends Meeting houses we had seen previously. Many of these churches also had pastors, again something we had not seen. The strong roots of Quaker churches here go back to the colonial period. We were met by the pastor, Victor Murchison; I wrote letters for a while, then watched three monks in the backyard of the church. (Ishiyama was somewhere with Jane, having one of their million-subject conversations covering the ground from the Japanese alphabet to growing lawns.) The three were screaming and howling at the top of their lungs, laughing and seeing who could make the loudest and absurdest sound. We inside shook our heads, having never seen the monks act so silly before. Their way of relieving tension? Victor was going over the evening program, and I told him that the monks would be singing. They wererehearsing one of their songs now. His face dropped for a monent, then he regained control and said, "That will be fine." I then confessed that it was Carole and Mercury who would sing. After supper, Victor asked all the walkers to tell something about themselves. He asked us to do this in the "Quaker tradition of witnessing." We each talked for a few minutes and the program was over. After the witnessing, hosts began to choose whom they wanted to stay with them that night. The monks were first chosen, then the women, then the non-American men. When the selecting was over, Bill and I were left; Victor added us to Mercury and Matt in his house. I stayed up late talking with Victor and his wife, Marian. She like me was a "non-singleton", being a triplet. We spoke of disarmament and the peace movement. We usually got into good conversations with the people who hosted us; I often wished I could stay up all night talking. March 23, Asheboro to Jamestown. The High Point area is well known for its furniture and we walked past many factories that day, taking lunch almost in the front yard of one, the smell of sawdust and furniture stain strong in our nostrils. I had worked in furniture factories when living in Lenoir; so I tried to explain what the inside of the factory was like and described the different jobs I had done. The memories made me thankful that I had the opportunity to be outdoors in this beautiful spring weather. Inside, I could have been wiping the stain from a chair before it entered the hotbox to be toasted golden brown. In the evening I phoned Dena from the Quaker church where we were to stay. I found that Dad's tests were back from the lab and there was no evidence of a blood clot. Surgery would therefore not be done and he would be discharged from the hospital soon. But he was to enter Baptist Hospital, in Winston-Salem, for more extensive tests, and I would stay in close touch. I then went into a room to meet some of the people who were arriving for potluck supper with us. This church was in a wealthy neighborhood and many people were dressed in expensive clothes. I laughed as I heard one of the women ask Bill, "Bill, will you be a dear and get me another cup of coffee?" When I saw him in the kitchen, we joked about it. Bill said, "Yeah, it's like I only walked seventeen miles today." Our program that night was remarkably short. After showing the Hiroshima-Nagasaki slides, the floor was opened for discussion. The first question was, "What is each of your names, age, religion, and education?" This seemed an incredibly insensitive and irrelevant question after seeing "A Message for Tomorrow". When most of us had answered, it was Mercury's turn. He said, "Okay, if there are no more questions, then we'll go to bed. We are tired." Morishita immediately got up to talk with Mercury, but the damage was done, the program over. It did give us time to talk together about our coming schedule. In particular, there were to be ten rest days in Norfolk, rest postponed from Atlanta. Morishita said the Japanese wouldn't be able to handle ten days with nothing to do -- after a couple of days "their heads would explode." Ten days looked great to me, but we arranged a compromise, if our state coordinator Tim McGloin could swing it. After being driven from Goldsboro to Norfolk as planned, we would go back and spend the first five days walking that stretch; I had lived nearby and knew potential hosts. We could add a prayer vigil at Ft. Bragg, where Salvadoran troops were being trained. The remaining five days would be Norfolk rest days. We phoned, and Tim said he would do the best he could.
page 27March 24, Jamestown to High Point This day we walked just six miles, arriving at High Point College at noon, right on time. A banner hung from the second floor of the administration bulding, reading "Welcome those who walk for peace." Many college officials met us, along with FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation) member Joe Felmet -- and Father Daniel Berrigan, there for a day. Berrigan was a main speaker at the college's "Celebration of Life" festival. His was one of the main signatures endorsing the World Peace March, and he had been in Los Angeles to bless the L.A. route's departure on October l7th. He was soft-spoken and low-key. Most of the non-Americans had not met him before, and he had talked five minutes with Carole and Mercury, unrecognized. At l:00 o'clock we held a prayer vigil outside the building where Berrigan was to speak. Then we joined him for his first program at 2 p.m. He spoke first in this "Festival of Life" symposium. He hated to disappoint his sponsors, but he had to focus on the celebration of death represented by the arms race, rather than a celebration of the cheap thrills of life. The United States government was godless, as much as the Soviet, recognizing nuclear weapons as the supreme power rather than God. He asked people to join us in walking the two miles from the student union to the Quaker house; about thirty joined us. After supper, we went back to the chapel for Berrigan's second program, again to an overflowing audience. He first read some of his poems written in prison. His main point was that in pre-war Germany, the Nazi crimes were legal. Now the arms race was "legal" too. World War III will be "legal". Civil disobedience is the only moral alternative to such legalities. March 25, High Point to Greensboro Our longest distance, 23 miles. When we left, we expected just l5 -- the difference, eight miles: not far by car. Lunch pickings were slim that day -- some pecans, some alfalfa sprouts, a few oranges. Jane and Ishiyama continued to go off alone; they were teased about marriage, which made the other monks scornful. There had been a dramatic change in Ishiyama the last three weeks. He now got up early to join the morning prayers of songs, only then to the Buddhist prayers. All of us, in fact, were more relaxed since Sandy, Jane, and Mary had joined three weeks ago. There was a good bit of good-natured joking. We were expecting to go swimming at the Greensboro YWCA that afternoon so, calculating that we had walked at least twelve miles in the morning, that pool should be only 3 or 4 miles down the road. Then Steve drove up, and told us we had at least ten more miles. And we then proceeded, after lunch, to walk past our turn; Steve was too shy perhaps to correct this, or thought we had changed the route, until Sandy crossed over to speak with him. At least it was a warm, sunny, windless afternoon. Now, our parade permit in Greensboro was good only until 4 o'clock. We decided to walk in Greensboro even without a valid permit. The police cooperated but said that they would not escort us past 4:00. It turned out that the shoulder was by a steep embankment; it was dangerous walking in the 5 o'clock traffic, but we arrived at the United Church of Christ at 5:50, exhausted. Sandy and I were carrying the banner in front, but our greeters by-passed our "Hello" and went straight to the monks with their refreshments. "Man, they sure go for those bald heads," said Sandy. There were ten minutes before supper, and I had a chance to talk with one couple who asked how far we had walked. "23 miles," I told them. "Oh, is that all?" Our program began at 7:30. Ishiyama was too tired (or sick, from his hypertension?) to run the slide projector. The rest of us were too tired to give a really coherent program. We were happy to accept Nancy Hammer's invitation to sleep at her house rather than the church. She had plenty of space, and carpeted floors to sleep on. Now we had a hot bath, some a massage to gently knead the tired muscles. The day had been especially hard for Debbie, and she would not walk tomorrow, her last day of the week's vacation she had spent walking from Charlotte. Still, her hundred miles was the highest for any guest walker since we left Louisiana. The day had evidently been hard on Ishiyama, and we were concerned about his health -- so much so that we changed our policy on accepting donated food: no more with high salt content. This was a big sacrifice for Sakamaki, nicknamed "Chipmonk" after he ate a pound of potato chips for supper. He loved them. I went to sleep in the basement, around l0 o'clock. Others were up past midnight, eating popcorn and singing. Where did these people get their energy? March 26, Greensboro to Winston-Salem After a tearful farewell to Debbie, we walked west, contrary to our northeast course. There were two reasons to go to Winston-Salem. It was a large city. And there was a young but strong disarmament movement there, CAN-Disarm. We were driven to Kernersville and walked the remaining l7 miles. The weather was cold and windy. Carrying the banner, we'd have to fight to keep from being blown into the road; luckily, our frontage road didn't have much traffic. Banner-holders changed every 45 minutes. As we left Kernersville, two city policemen greeted us without cordiality -- a prelude to the rest of the day. They were angry, and prepared to arrest us for getting out of the car on the road. If they got one complaint about us, we would all be arrested; furthermore, if one person stepped over the white line onto the road, he would be arrested for blocking traffic. Then they watched, from no more than a block away, while we walked out of the city limits; we would wave and smile each time we walked past a parked patrol car; at last they began smiling and waving back, but we were relieved to be out of Kernersville. Not sure of a support vehicle, we carried our lunches. Linda Wolfe, Quaker minister from Winston-Salem, was there at lunch with water. Luckily: we had missed an intersection and were already two miles off our route. She was a lucky presence also in being able to take Ishiyama, so sick and weak he could barely stand up. Jane went ahead to stay with him, and we all rode with Linda as far as the missed intersection. We were successful in reaching the Burger King, where our supporters were to meet us, right on schedule at 3:30. But no one was there. We got hot coffee and waited half an hour. Then, since we had directions to the church, we went on, though it meant more walking. We stayed on the sidewalk, not having a parade permit. As we crossed the I-40 overpass, four police cars pulled up and stopped the walk. The person who had talked with the police and been told we didn't need a permit if we stayed on the sidewalk had been misinformed, we were informed. Now the police were nervous that day, the first day of the grand jury investigation of the KKK and Nazis, charged with violating the civil rights of the five Communist Workers Party members killed in Greensboro in November '79. The KKK had been denied a permit to march on the courthouse that very day; the city feared they would march anyway. We were halted swiftly when spotted. They held us on the bridge over an hour, driving Carole to headquarters to talk with the city attorney. Now TV, radio, and newspapers picked up the incident. We were surrounded by cameras and notebooks; reporters expected us to be arrested, one station reporting we had been. A local woman who had happened on us and joined our walk pointed out an undercover policeman whom she had seen marching with the Klan. Eventually Carole returned, accompanied by Linda and the city attorney. The police realized now that we were not KKKers without robes and would not arrest us -- unless we continued the walk. We were less than a mile from the church; most did not want to provoke an arrest, we told Morishita. For one thing, it would put a strain on our finances if we paid bail to walk on. Most of our supporters had strapped themselves more than they really should have. But...it was up to Morishita. He talked again with the attorney. Unhappy with any decision, he decided to discontinue the walk, and the police gave us a ride to the church. I rode with a young Black policewoman. It developed that she and I had recently been social workers for the state. Ex-social workers are found in the strangest places. She was friendly and wished us luck. Ishiyama and Jane were waiting for us at the church, worried because we were so late. Ishiyama was feeling much better. Everyone was happy that the day's walk was done, and when we joined hands for song and prayer before supper, I sang a few lines of a song. "Oh, the police makes it hard, boys, wherever I may roam / And I ain't got no home, in this world, anymore." After supper, we were to go to a meeting. I was sick with a headache and couldn't go. I slept early. The day had taken its toll.
page 28March 27, Rest day in Winston-Salem #l This rest day was needed by everybody. We had the entire church basement to ourselves. There were lots of small Sunday school classrooms, where people could shut themselves off for a few private hours. Such hours were now treasured the most. When I got back from a shower at the YWCA, Morishita took me aside to talk. He began, "Which do you think is more important, walking or talking?" I didn't understand what he meant, why both couldn't be done on a peace walk. Now, when Morishita was making an important point, he would not tell you directly what it was. He would tell you a story, and you were to infer the meaning. His story was this, more or less. There was a monk in Nipponzan Myohoji who believed that talking about peace was more important than walking for peace. He attended lots of important peace conferences around the world and developed quite a reputation in some countries, in some places being better known than Fuji himself. But the teacher knew that he was respected as a monk because other monks were conducting peace walks. The lesson of this story was that people came to our programs because we showed our dedication to peace by committing our bodies to physical hardship. Morishita thought that I was not talking enough about the peace walk at our evening programs. During the last few programs, I had talked some about other topics, like the folly of civil defense. One reason for this was that I was bored with giving the same speech night after night. After a while, I realized that he was right. After lunch I retired to a small classroom to rest -- and to listen to the NCAA semi-finals, UNC against Houston, whose Twin Towers were to be toppled by NC State in the l983 finals. UNC won, and I could imagine how crazy things were going to be in Chapel Hill that night. As for us, we had a potluck supper, then a service, finally our program, at the synagogue. The service was impressive. I sensed a commonality behind the rituals of all three faiths our peace walk was privileged to see: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist. The peace program, our first in a synagogue, was in the dining area where we were joined by Rabbi Michael Robinson, the first North Carolina native to become a rabbi. It was the last night of a three-month tour of the South, where he had been speaking on disarmament for the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Our paths had crossed earlier, in Montgomery. Before speaking, he told me that he had found the grassroots disarmament movement in the South much stronger than people had realized. Now, in his speech, he said that Israel should support disarmament at the upcoming United Nations Special Session. If any country was vulnerable to nuclear attack, it was Israel, which has 70% of its people in only four urban areas. March 28, Rest day in Winston-Salem #2 It was Sunday. We were invited to attend two church services. Half of us attended the Quaker service, and half the Unitarian Universalist service. I went to the UU service because Rabbi Michael Robinson would be speaking. My friend Joe Felmet was in charge of the program, and Robinson talked first about Joe, who had been his classmate in an Asheville high school. Joe has a long history of working for peace and justice. He resisted the draft in World War II, and for this was sent to a camp for CO resisters. After the war, Joe took part in the first freedom ride through the South. The freedom rides were sponsored by the War Resisters League and the Fellowship of Reconciliation and were to claim the right of Black people to sit anywhere on the bus that they wished. Joe got only as far as Smithfield, NC before being arrested and sent to jail for six months. He had been reading for a law degree and was denied permission to take the law exam because of this arrest. Rabbi Robinson's topic was "Peace is not Shalom." He defined peace as the absence of war, while shalom implies much more than merely the absence of war. After the service, the church gave us a contribution of $l50. We were now to go to Miller Park for a "disarmament picnic". Morishita had been concerned that we were having two days without any walking, so he and Sakamaki decided they would walk the five miles from the church to the park, and were joined by Joe Felmet, who said that you have to carve out your first amendment rights step by step. We were concerned that they would be arrested because of the stern warning from the police a few days before. The rest of us rode over to Miller Park. The three walkers arrived after about an hour and a half -- no problems. The undercover policeman of two days before was also present at the picnic, in the parking lot writing down license plate numbers of the 70 people there. Then he stayed in the hallway, while we picnicked in a room of the recreation center, it being cold out. We thought at the time he was acting as part of a "red squad" to intimidate the new peace group, CAN-Disarm, and maybe he was. But on June l0 in NYC, our route coordinator Pamela told me more: she had received a threatening letter from a man in North Carolina identifying himself as member of the National Association for the Advancement of White People. NAAWP was member of the United Racist Front, the coalition of groups (mainly Klan and Nazis) that killed the CWP civil rights workers in November '79. Because of the threats in the letter and the history of murderous violence of the groups involved, Pamela felt compelled to call the Federal Bureau of Investigation for protection; this man worked for the FBI. We were told later that the FBI followed us closely through North Carolina and Virginia, but we noticed them only in Winston-Salem. An incident later in Virginia showed us that we were under close observation, however. At the picnic there was a doctor, and he checked the blood pressure of the walkers whose pressure had been too high. All were normal, including Ishiyama. March 29, Winston-Salem to Greensboro Today brought us back to where we were on the 26th. Our support person, David Martin, once a Trappist monk, then on the SF-Moscow walk in l96l, was now a union organizer. He had gotten parade permits easily from police departments in Winston-Salem and Kernersville. Both had become very friendly, all hostility gone, and they went out of their way to be sure we had no problems on our way back. We walked through Winston-Salem, past the large cigarette factories. The smell of tobacco was strong. Then we retraced our steps to Kernersville, the undercover agent with us constantly. From Kernersville, we were driven to within four miles of the Greensboro city limits. After a couple of miles, David picked me up so that we could go to a fast food restaurant for coffee, and to talk about how better to accommodate the needs of the peace walkers: vegetarian food, medical attention, press relations, support vehicle, etc. He would pass ideas and information on to our coordinator in Virginia. I especially did not want press conferences at the end of the day's walk. It was hard for me to deal with the press after walking 15 or 20 miles. I had to do this often without even a minute to rest, nor even a glass of water. That night, Sister Cora Marie found a large TV set for me to watch the NCAA finals in St. Pauls Catholic Church. Carolina won by one point -- one of the most dramatic I'd ever seen. Some of the Japanese and Europeans were there, and I explained the game excitedly, then expansively; they shared my joy for my team's victory. But a few days later I found myself reflecting on the childish chauvinism of wanting to be #l, in basketball or in national might.
page 29March 30, In Greensboro Today we walked only seven miles, from the church to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After cafeteria lunch and setting up our photo display and petition table, we walked about a mile to a building, just off-campus, and met with a religious meditation class. After the class, we talked with some of them. They seemed pessimistic, somehow frustrated, about getting a campus peace group started. Yet they already had enough people to make a good core group. After an hour vigil at the post office, we were driven to the UNC-G Catholic Center and watched the local news. It gave an excellent report on our walk and a special five-minute segment on the disarmament movement in the Tri-cities area. A physician, a political science professor, and a priest spoke live from a fallout shelter. The last food supply Greensboro sent to its shelter was biscuits in l96l; the shelter had nothing except "a pot to piss in." March 3l, Rest day in Greensboro Our schedule had been set so we could attend the NC Council of Churches Peace Conference as special guests. Three hundred church officials were there from across the state. The keynote address was from Bishop Armstrong, president of the National Council of Churches. What an amazing reformation the churches have undergone respecting both nuclear and "conventional" weapons. They seem to be moving quickly to the position held by Christians in the first two centuries after Christ. Christians then refused to serve in the Roman army. Then, in 3l2 AD+, Christianity became the official religion of the Empire; Christians became soldiers. But now many churches are taking the position that there is no "just war": no matter what the balance between good and evil, it is negligible weighed against the effects of nuclear war. Sumerford, and Patrick O'Neill, all good friends. Charlie, active in a breadth of activity from Pax Christi to the American Civil Liberties Union, has been a priest for over 25 years; since that conference he has made annual trips to Central America meeting high officials as well as priests and nuns working with the poor. Steve was regional director for the War Resisters League and had been arrested in Red Square in l978 for unfurling a disarmament flag there; since then he moved to Japan, but recently returned as a reference librarian. Patrick was then working with the Greenville Peace Committee and had just been arrested for blocking the entrance to Ft. Bragg in protest of the training of Salvadoran troops; since then he has served two years in federal prison as one of the Pershing Plowshares. We walkers were driven to UNC-G for lunch, Patrick joining us. We ate at a table with a l7-year-old student, Patrick and I discussing the peace walk and the civil disobedience at Ft. Bragg. After about ten minutes, the student asked, "Where are you all from? You're not students, are you?" Patrick asked him what he thought about U.S. involvement in Central America, then I talked with him about nuclear weapons. He said he had never in his whole life thought about these issues. The three of us talked fifteen more minutes until the student had to leave, wearing a perplexed look. We went back to the conference, agreeing that the morning talks had been powerful and to the point. Patrick said some of the people were wearing such nice clothes that he thought we were at a spring fashion show. When we got back, I heard that an elderly woman had also been observing clothes. She had told Bill that we should be wearing suits and dresses, not blue jeans. She said that our clothes did not help our cause. He had responded, "After all, we are walkers." During the afternoon we heard eyewitness accounts of the violation of human rights in South America, especially in Argentina. We had to leave before the conference adjourned to attend a picnic at Guilford College. We looked forward to this visit at a Quaker school, but all of our scheduled events there were disappointing. The only encouraging thing was being joined by 25 students from Arthur Morgan School in Celo, N.C. AMS is a Quaker junior high school nearly two hundred miles west of Greensboro, and they had come in their activity bus to be with us tonight and walk with us tomorrow. When we arrived at the Guilford campus, we found no sign of a picnic, and no one to greet us. The AMS bus was unloading at the student union, and a few non-college people had come. Without food, we were glad to accept rations from AMS folks, a pint of lettuce and a piece of bread. Then everybody went to the student union lobby, where we talked and sang. It was good to meet Chip Poston and Herb Walters of AMS. Chip had walked in the '76 walk for disarmament and social justice, then went to Japan for a peace walk in '77. Herb edits a unique newsletter, Rural Southern Voice for Peace (RSVP). The AMS book of peace songs was distributed and guitars appeared. I was refreshed to be joined as I sang by the cheerful, innocent voices of the students. The walk could swing one's feelings. Emotions went from disappointment at the apathy and poor planning at Guilford to enthusiasm and hope at being with the young Quaker students. Only one college student came to our evening program, and she stayed only five minutes. She had expected a program about Buddhism, not about peace. She was a member of the student assembly and left when she remembered a committee meeting. The AMS students and teachers saw our program, then we theirs, a film by Ground Zero. We were through early and spent an hour at the union giving each other massages. Our hosts weren't expecting us until l0:30. There were two houses hosting us. The fifteen males (counting AMS people) went to one, finding twelve students living there playing loud Rolling Stones music and more of us than our hosts could easily accommodate. We managed though. The music was turned down around 2 a.m. The next day, we learned the women, to stay in a dorm room, fared even worse than we. Most of them elected to sleep outdoors.
page 30April l, Greensboro to Sedalia This morning's events seemed an extension of last night. A dean was the sole official in attendance. Breakfast was a cup of coffee and a doughnut. Seeing this, we decided to eat in the cafeteria: we had 17 miles to walk and little to eat the day before. The dean was upset, even though we were going to pay for the meal. He felt insulted and said we were walking in order to eat, rather than for disarmament. Eventually admitted to the cafeteria, we wanted to mingle with the students and get a sense of their attitudes. I ate with a senior who hoped to work with the American Friends Service Committee. He was excited about our walk and our reception through the South. He had not heard of us previously nor known we had spent the night on campus. Other walkers had similar conversations; no one had known that we had been on campus. We started walking past tobacco factories in Greensboro's industrial section. (Our permit didn't allow us downtown because children were walking.) But, despite the police permit, we had no police escort. At lunch, we stopped in an open field near a small country store where I bought a pint of milk. The store owner and a county policeman were clearly hostile to us. Our 25 AMS friends left us at 4 o'clock in Sedalia on their bus; we were driven to our hosts' farmhouse near Burlington. The two families living there had spent six years building the house themselves. Today Ishiyama said he wanted to adopt a U.S. custom while he is here. He will introduce himself, and we shall call him by, his first name, Kajo. I phoned my brother Doug, who tomorrow would join the walk for a week. My father, just admitted to Baptist Hospital, would take medical tests, the results to be known in three days. Two of the four adults in that house taught at the local Quaker school. We all sat in the living room, talking informally. Nagase listened to Beatle records wearing a headset, pacing back and forth with a distant look. He told Mercury and me that he was "escaping", that people were trying to be number one, that he was sick at heart. He was referring to the ongoing leadership struggle between Kajo and Morishita. This was the first real indication that the monks were divided on how to conduct the peace walk, that they were not satisfied with each other, although a few days ago Nagase had refused to join the monks at the front of the walk. Instead he had walked a half-mile behind, beating his drum and chanting loudly. Morishita had explained that Nagase was depressed, but I now knew that he had been saddened by the leadership struggle. April 2, Sedalia to Burlington This day's walk was short, 13 miles, and a lot of good things happened. The major event was Doug's arrival; he was taking a week off from his job as a chemist at Research Triangle Institute. We had been walking for a little over an hour when he arrived in Susan's car. Sakamaki laughed as he pointed at Doug and said, "Andy." We are identical twins. Approaching New York, we were joined by many people who learned to tell us apart by the color of our shoes; sometimes this required looking under a table to see who they were talking with. We finished walking by lunch and were to spend the rest of the day and the night at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. We were welcomed by l35 students, who joined us in a large circle. We sang a few simple songs. The young people seemed awed by the monks. All wanted to hold the prayer drums. After lunch, I spent some time talking with a reporter, a student from Alamance Community College. He and a few others were trying to get a peace group going on campus. But he was discouraged. Someone in the administration had told them that if they continued their "unpatriotic" activities they would be expelled. I suggested they take up the challenge and not be intimidated. Then they would be working for their first amendment rights as well as for peace. I told him how a member of the Greenville (NC) Peace Committee took up a similar challenge from Pitt Community College. A dean there threatened his arrest and expulsion if he kept handing out leaflets against draft registration. He would be charged with "unlawful solicitation of ideas." The student let it be known he would respond in the courts and was given no further problem. People who would deny us our freedom of speech are the ones acting unpatriotically. At 3 o'clock we walked a short mile to the city hall, to be officially welcomed by the mayor. Other officials, and reporters, were present. The mayor gave Morishita some literature. Morishita gave him the Hiroshima mayoral peace proclamation and the photo booklet, then our disarmament petition for his signature. He signed his name, with his title, and then I truly appreciated Morishita's political skills. After supper we went to evening mass. Not previously announced, this caught Sandy unprepared and we were out the door before she realized she wasn't wearing shoes. Well, it was her head that had to be covered, according to l Corinthians; and she could be emboldened by the priest Bob's friendship with Philip Berrigan and the fact that Bob was proud also that this was the first Catholic church in the state in which a Buddhist prayer for peace had been given. Only a dozen local people were at the mass. But people were asked to come to the front of the church to light a candle for peace. I encouraged her to light the candle; God was probably not wearing shoes now either. But I learned later from Pamela that some parishioners had contacted her to express their displeasure at Sandy's bare feet flaunted at their ceremony. Toward the end of the service the priests gave the monks a gift, a pair of "tar heels" honoring UNC's basketball champions. After the service, in our room (the school gym), Kurimori asked Bill to step on his foot as a massage; Bill, unwilling, finally stepped -- but way too hard. Kurimori limped for several days then, but walked every step of the way. April 3, Burlington toward Chapel Hill It was 18 miles in harsh weather -- cold, rainy, and very very windy. That wind kept at forty miles an hour; our banner-carriers were blown all over the roadside. Sakamaki couldn't manage the prayer banner, and Kajo carried it for the first time since we left New Orleans. At first, it seemed simply impossible. Jane and I started out carrying the banner; we found ourselves constantly turning and straining as we tried to make forward progress. During especially hard gusts against us, one of the monks would push with his body against the middle of the banner, and Jane and I would burst out in fits of laughing. Though exhausting ourselves in the first mile, we had to laugh, it was so ludicrous. Once we did an old comedy routine unintentionally. I looked at the lowering gray clouds, then at Jane, and shouted, "Cheer up, it could be worse; it could be raining." It poured down on cue. At last came our first rest stop. The banner was nearly torn from the poles, and Mercury went into a store to buy some nails and borrow a hammer. The rain kept up through the break and through the morning. The cold, with strong winds, was with us two more days. As the morning wore on, we began trying to guess the miles we had come, knowing they were few against that wind. "Surely six miles?" But the monks would estimate mileage with the certainty of Jerry Falwell quoting the Old Testament. About l:00, we were greeted by a lone man, standing by the side of the road and holding a small bouquet and bowing reverently. We smiled and waved and walked on. Then, a sudden thought hit us: Steve Fisher. Could he be our local coordinataor, Steve Fisher, who was supposed to have met us at noon with food and water? Mary went back; it was Steve, and we stopped where we were, in the driveway of a volunteer fire department, for food and rest. It had stopped raining and I took off my raincoat, placing it on the driveway, and lay on it to rest. This had been one of the hardest mornings I remembered. After a ten-minute rest, we had enough energy to start to eat. A gourmet restaurant in Chapel Hill had donated lunch, and we feasted on cheese, nuts, and mineral water. We asked Steve how many miles it was yet to our host's house. He said it wasn't far, about eleven miles, and our spirits sank. We cut our lunch break short to resume walking. And, somehow, those eleven miles went by much faster than I would have thought possible; I recall nothing else of that afternoon. Rick's house was memorable. It was an historical landmark, first used as a military academy by the Confederate States of America; in World War II, the United States of America used it as an army barracks. The house and outsheds were in the process of complete restoration, a building in which bricks were made still standing near a well. But there was neither electricity nor running water. Rick wasn't there, but we went in. Upstairs, military maps were stacked in a corner; they were used in WW II for teaching map-reading. Now the building was about to serve differently -- immediately to house peace walkers and then as a retreat and workshop for area artists. Rick was an artist, as well as the caretaker. He had asked us to stay in this place to counter some of the negative forces from its past. He was a sculptor, his work displayed inside the house, on the porch, and in the front yard. Some, in the yard, had been blown down by the wind, which had even blown Jesus off the cross. Rick drove up soon, in a pickup with his Saturday night date. We were earlier than expected, but he had purposely left the house unlocked and I admired the friendly and nonchalant greeting we got from him and his friend. Another friend jumped from the back of the truck, a large Doberman pinscher who wanted to play a game with me. He walked up and dropped a small log at my feet. I picked the stick up, thinking he wanted me to throw it to fetch. He had another game in mind and grabbed the middle of the stick and worked his teeth down toward my hand with swift small bites. I think I saved losing my right hand by a fingernail as I let go. Rick and his friends stayed just long enough to make us feel welcome before returning to Chapel Hill. A vegetarian restaurant there had donated our supper, and even brought it out to us. We ate by candlelight, sitting in a large circle on the floor. Our first efforts to tailor our evening entertainment to our surroundings failed when no one could remember a complete ghost story. But the idea was not forgotten during the Japanese fishing and other folk songs that followed. Coming in from an outhouse visit, the young monk Sakamaki reached for one of Rick's sculptures to scare Sandy when she came back from her visit. It was a ghoulish female mannikin with blood running from the mouth. But she was bent on scaring him and arrived just as he bent over. Her scream as he was picking up the mannikin scared him, and he yelled and jerked it apart in his hands; this surprised him again and he yelled even louder. Sandy, pleased with her effect, was running back and forth across the porch, almost doubled over from laughter. Sakamaki was also running back and forth, moaning loudly, "Ohhhh Ohhhh!" We ran out to see with the help of flashlights, and the mannikin was put back together in something fairly close to its original form. Back inside the house, we resumed our circle. Now we all sat in silence, listening to the wind in the trees. It was still blowing strongly. The unity of the group was strong too. There was a spell of happiness there.
April 4, Into Chapel Hill Only 12 miles today, but we had to arrive by l:00 o'clock for some events. Rick walked with us. We didn't have much food left for breakfast, only pieces of cabbage. Lacking a support car today, we carried an orange apiece. It wasn't raining but was cold and very windy. I was excited to be walking finally into Chapel Hill, where I first learned of pacifism. I had heard that big events were planned. Others joined as we came into Carrboro. About fifty people were waiting for us at the post office across from the UNC campus. We received an official welcome by the mayor, people from the city council, the county commissioners, and the vice chancellor of the university. Steve Fisher also presented flowers to each of the monks. We were a little upset that only the monks had been recognized and welcomed, not the World Peace March. After the welcoming ceremony we had about fifteen minutes to rest before leading the Children's International Peace Parade. I took our water bottle to a nearby restaurant where I had once worked briefly. I recognized my old boss. I told him that I had walked twelve miles and was thirsty and that I was with the World Peace March, before asking whether he would fill the jug. He made a sour face, thought for a second, then said roughly, "Yeah, I guess I'm for world peace." Then he gave the jug to the dishwasher and told him to fill it. The dishwasher was far more genuine in his act of giving. When I got back to the group it was about time to leave. In fact, there wasn't even enough time for everyone to have a drink. The Children's International Peace Parade was now beginning. This parade surpassed all our expectations. There were over 500 people, including more than 300 children. Many of the children had worked for months to make the ten-foot puppets which they carried. Even Chapel Hill had never seen anything like this before. There were conferences with major speakers during the rest of the day, but the children's parade was the great event. Doug and I decided to go to his house in Durham for the night. We were offered a ride to Durham by the local president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, cofounded by Jane Addams. Then we were there...home...what a sweet-sounding word! To be able to relax out of public view...to take a long hot bath...to call out for a pizza. All of which we did. Afterward Doug called Baptist Hospital and got a welcome report. The medical tests were done; there was no evidence of stroke-causing clots forming and Dad would be returning home tomorrow. April 5, Chapel Hill to Durham Only 12 miles, but another busy day. Doug and I were up early and walked two miles to the bus station for the first bus to Chapel Hill. From that bus station, we walked another two miles to the Community Church. Only a few other walkers were there when we came in. Rain was threatening and I went to my pack for my rainwear. No pack -- most of our gear had been carried to Durham, including the extra rainwear. Oh well, if it rains we just get wet. By 9:30 all walkers had assembled and we began our walk back to the "pit" at UNC campus. There the monks prayed while the rest of us handed out literature and asked people to sign our petition. On almost the same spot, more than ten years ago, I handed out leaflets to build support for the movement against the Vietnam war. The peace movement was very strong on campus in l970. The entire school was shut down protesting Nixon's invasion of Cambodia and the subsequent killing of the students at Kent State and Jackson State. Today students eagerly took our literature and only a few people refused to sign the petition. Before the prayer vigil, we heard that Steve had arranged a supper by university officials last night to welcome the monks. No other walkers had been told of the reception. Mary, our group leader this week, talked with Steve to try to keep these incidents from happening again. Toward the end of the vigil, some of the campus police came over to tell us to stop praying. They said it was disturbing students, adding that we would be arrested if we continued chanting as we walked through the campus. But everyone joined in the chant as we walked through the campus. At noon we participated in a prayer vigil in front of the post office on Franklin St. This was the site of the weekly vigil against the Vietnam war, which began in l967 and lasted until the end of the war. About 50 people came to this vigil, which we had to leave at l2:30 for lunch, since we were due to begin walking the 12 miles to Durham at l:00 o'clock. We had a few leftovers from last night's supper for the monks, about enough for a chicken wing each. We walked promptly at l:00. More than 50 people joined us, and 35 of them walked all the way to Durham. Because of the many children, we rested every three miles instead of five. Tim McGloin and his two children drove up at 3 o'clock. I was really happy to see Tim again, having last seen him the first week in February. He brought sandwiches, fruit, and jugs of water. We took a half-hour break, having only four more miles to go. Tim told Morishita he had spoken with our coordinators in Norfolk. It was now impossible to add any more days to our N.C. schedule. The good news was that they could accommodate our three-day fast in Norfolk. What three-day fast?? This was the first that the non-Japanese walkers had heard of a fast, and the news divided the Japanese from the non-Japanese again. It was understandable to us why others would divide walkers into monks and non-monks. But we couldn't accept the fact that the monks were trying to assume sole decision-making authority. The unity of the walk had been fast dissolving these past two days. Many of us agreed on a meeting tomorrow night to discuss the problems. The walk through Durham went extremely well. Every few minutes, people seemed to be getting out of their cars to join. A TV reporter wanted an interview while we were walking. This meant that he had to walk backward, carrying the heavy camera on his shoulder as he interviewed. It was hard to do a serious interview as the expression on his face showed fear of stumbling and falling at any moment. He did walk into a sign post once. The walk arrived at Mary Immaculate Church at 5:40. The interfaith service was at 6:00. Most walkers went to the front of the sanctuary to help plan the program. Morishita and I would be the speakers to represent the walk. Mary offered us some shelled peanuts. We were all seated. Morishita got up and walked away from us without a word. Sakamaki came up to us, red-faced and angry. "This is God's temple! Christians do not eat in God's temple!" We thought that the events of the day before had only increased Sakamaki's self-righteous attitude. During the day's walk he got upset at Sandy for walking too close to him. He made her walk the required distance behind. We really needed the meeting planned for tomorrow night. Many people attended the interfaith service. I gave my usual speech. But I added a few extra words to try to reconcile the differences developing among us. After the service, we had supper at the priest's house. The people of the parish had cooked a tremendous meal. Only about half a dozen other people were at the supper and this was a relaxed meal. No speeches. No interviews. Doug sat at a table with Morishita and Nagase. Morishita said that "we sit together." The "we" meant the monks. This was such an uncharacteristic statement from Morishita that Doug did not immediately understand what he meant. After he understood, he waited for an opportune time to get up and leave. During this time, there was complete silence at the table. Mercury did not walk with us today, because he felt weak, and had a fever. He still had the fever when we got back to the church. We thought he would rest better at Doug's house, so invited Carole and him to spend the night there. Linda McGloin gave us a ride home, and when we got there we talked for several hours about the division within the walk and what to do about it. We came up with no satisfactory solutions.
page 32April 6, Rest day in Durham This was a rest day in name only. There was no walking, but we had almost twelve straight hours of meetings and planned activities. Mercury was still sick, so he and Carole remained at Doug's house until the evening activities at the Friends Meeting House. I felt weak and exhausted myself. The dissolution of the group's unity had done much to add to the physical fatigue which was multiplied as we could see our promised rest days in Norfolk quickly vanishing. First came a press conference at St. Joseph's AME Zion Church. Morishita and I found ourselves with all the groups working with the Durham freeze movement -- they had never been in one room together before: chalk one up for our walk. A dozen groups or so were represented, in two broad categories: single-issue freeze groups and disarmament groups wanting to connect the freeze with militarism and militarism with other social issues. The second category folks reasoned that peace would be achieved only by working for social justice. The first group emphasized practical politics. Before that day the two alliances had been working separately, even circulating two different freeze petitions. Now each group was given a chance to read a statement, and a chance to talk about their recent activities and projected plans. Later I was told that the peace walk indeed succeeded in bringing a good measure of unity, especially for their effort to build support for the June l2th rally. Their members attended some of our programs in Durham and saw a handful of people from different countries and cultures walking 2,000 miles to the United Nations to work for the success of SSD-II. Our programs and our example helped awaken people to the fact that all must be serious about peace work. We had to set aside differences to work to disarm nuclear weapons. The stakes were too high to allow ourselves to be divided along organizational lines. So, despite the fact that the unity of the walk itself was at a low level during our Durham visit, it was apparent that the peace walkers made up a close unit. At 5:00 we all came to the Quaker House for medical check-ups. I was surprised to find that my blood pressure and pulse rate were normal despite my tiredness. Everyone else also checked out okay. The doctor, a PSR member who volunteered her services free, spoke with Sakamaki about his diet: "What about chips?" "No, chips are bad for you." "No chips," he repeated sadly. "What about coke?" "No, cokes are bad for you too." "No cokes??" he repeated with evev more sadness. "What about cookies?" "Cookies are okay." This cheered him up somewhat. From that time on, I did not see him eat another potato chip or drink another coke. He did not even mention them again. All the monks were proud of their discipline. The potluck supper was brought in and served. During this Carole, "the mad hatter", made us all paper hats from newspapers. As people came in to join us, they were given paper hats too. This effort to reduce tension worked brilliantly; all of us sat cross-legged on the floor, laughing at our appearance as we ate. Molly Brown arrived in the midst of this craziness to join us for a month. A sophomore in anthropology at Emory University, she had attended our program there six weeks ago. After some thought, she had decided to drop out of the spring quarter to join us. Nineteen-year-old Molly could not have arrived at a more welcome time and turned out to have a big influence on the walk's character. Peace activists from across the state were gathering at the Quaker House that night. We had met most of those from west of Durham. Many people told us that the walk had a big impact on their localities, strengthening support for disarmament. Soon the room was packed, and the first of two meetings got started. We walkers went into the kitchen for a private meeting, which lasted two hours and was sometimes full of tension. The main issue had to be the renewed division between the Japanese and the others. It had been worse before, because the divisive forces now were largely from outside our group and we realized we couldn't change them much. But we thought the monks should know how we felt and take steps to correct the situations which arose. Most of the monks pretended not to understand. Finally Kajo (Ishiyama) spoke up in our behalf. He restated what we had said: the walk was initiated by the Buddhists but was now an interfaith walk. So that issue was once more resolved. But it would reappear in Washington and be with us from there to New York City. We turned to the Norfolk schedule. We had been promised ten days to rest in Atlanta and then in Norfolk instead. We were willing to compromise with the monks on the number of days; but, just yesterday, we learned we would get probably only one rest day. Nine days of activities had been planned, including a three-day prayer fast (Kurimori's idea). Morishita had requested this without consulting any of the non-Japanese. Most of the activities had been publicized so it was too late to change them -- all we could do was request that Morishita not add any more activities and that all be involved in decisions. About ll:30 came a call from Vicki Casey, a friend coordinating the walk through Goldsboro, N.C. She said we would have to leave Goldsboro by ll:l5 a.m. to arrive in Norfolk for our 4 p.m. press conference: we would have to miss the bimonthly vigil at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, a SAC (Strategic Air Command) base with nuclear bombers. I told her the walkers would try to work out an arrangement in order to take part in the noon vigil. April 7, Durham to Raleigh The weather was warm and everyone's health better, apparently. It felt good to be walking at a fast pace after the hectic rest day the day before, even if a man in a pickup with a loudspeaker drove past several times, telling us he wanted a war. We walked down the main street of Raleigh, past NC State University and the puzzled faces of many students, thence to the United Church of Christ for our official reception, arriving almost precisely on time. We were seated in front of a full church; there were especially many school children. Officials from Governor Hunt's Office and from the mayor and city council welcomed us. The rest of the program was mostly in Japanese, with English translation following. Then school children came forward to read poems and short stories about peace which they had written, and to present us with gifts: flowers, candy, a thousand paper cranes. Students from four junior high schools had worked for two months folding the cranes. One teacher had read the story of Sadako to her class and her students had then wanted to make the cranes as a gift to the peace walk. Other classes soon decided to help when they heard the story, which was explained during the program. It is told in Fellowship of Reconciliation literature: "A Japanese tradition holds that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes will have a fervently-held desire fulfilled. Sadako Sasaki, only a young girl when the bomb exploded over Hiroshima in l945, knew the belief but had no wish pressing enough to fold the thousand cranes until ten years after the end of the war. Then, normally healthy all her life until then, she declined into radiation sickness and her remaining days were in a hospital. "From her bed Sadako set out to fold a thousand cranes as a prayer for peace. At first it was easy enough but as the illness grew worse each fold became an immense labor. When she died in l956 she had been able to complete only 744. From her deathbed she held up one crane and said in a quiet voice, 'I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.' The story of l2-year old Sadako became widely known, much the way the story of Anne Frank became known in Europe and America. Others took up her unfinished task." The monks were then asked to come forward to receive the children's gifts. The rest of the walkers looked at each other knowingly. The monks stood up, hesitantly. But Kajo smiled widely and gestured for all the walkers to join them. The gifts of a thousand cranes, poems, stories, and posters were sent ahead to the New York office, later to be presented to the UN General Assembly's second Special Session on Disarmament (SSD-II). Following program, all were served Japanese tea. (The Japanese had once told us they actually preferred the taste of English tea.) There were also the usual media interviews. The TV crew now had the interviewer that they had sent for earlier. We also got to look at the local newspaper, with the article about the peace walk. On the same page was a report that Ronald Reagan would address the UN Special Session. He said there had been a "drum beat of criticism across the land" against his previous decision not to attend. We were happy with his choice of words, and happy too that he would be there. He had thus credited the peace movement with forcing his presence. Now a five-mile walk included a powerful prayer vigil outside Central Prison with its gas chamber. We were gratified to see hundreds of waving hands at distant barred windows when they heard our chant, confirming human solidarity. I feel we are all on death row and even inside a "gas chamber" with nuclear weapons. We reached the Church of the Good Shepherd, with two hours until supper. We hung the chain of cranes from the cafeteria ceiling and talked for the first time with the others about the change in our Goldsboro-Norfolk schedule. We thought it very important to be present at the SAC base vigil, one in the NC Peace Network series. This was to have been one of our major activities in Norrth Carolina. Peace groups here were demanding that nuclear weapons be removed from the base. Goldsboro may nearly have been victim of a 24-megaton nuclear weapon. On Jan. 24, l96l a B-52 bomber crashed in a field near Faro, 12 miles from Goldsboro. The Pentagon reported the accident and that there had been two unarmed 24-megaton hydrogen bombs aboard. In Dec. l980, Reuters news agency reported that five of the six firing mechanisms had tripped on one of the bombs; the Pentagon then said that the two separate mechanisms intended to prevent accidental detonation had worked as they were supposed to, but it was learned that considerable uranium from the other bomb was still missing, presumably deep in the dirt; the state of its firing triggers was never reported. NC Governor Jim Hunt and Congressman Charles Whitley had been concerned. The walkers were aware of all this. Now our coordinators in Goldsboro and in Norfolk both wanted us to attend their scheduled events. We hated too to skip the 200 miles between the cities, but nothing could be done about that So we decided to divide our group and draw lots to determine who would stay in Goldsboro to vigil and who would leave early for Norfolk, hoping this would satisfy our coordinators. Before reaching Goldsboro we found it would not. After this discussion we had yet a few minutes before supper to talk with the Raleigh people. Many were members of Pax Christi. We also talked with three NC State students who were from Europe, who informed us of the peace movement in their countries.
page 33April 8, Raleigh to Smithfield. We walked 16 miles of this stretch in rain and wind, but the worst feature was highway department herbicide or pesticide spraying which kept us slaloming between right and left shoulders. Jim Berry, retired air force colonel now with the NC Peace Nerwork, met us outside Smithfield. He escorted us to St. Ann's Catholic Church, our host for the night. I had been past Smithfield on US 70 many times and remembered the billboard that welcomed motorists there to "Ku Klux Klan country". The sign was no longer there but last summer Smithfield had been the host community of the North American convention of the KKK. Forty people attended, according to report. Tomorrow was Good Friday, so the walkers agreed to fast first, because of the date; second, to express our solidarity with people who would be arrested tomorrow for disarmament activities. Patrick O'Neill would be one of those arrested for throwing their blood on the walls of the Pentagon. April 9, Smithfield to Goldsboro I caught a bus to Greenville today to meet with the Greenville Peace Committee and also to have a physical exam. The others walked to Goldsboro. Today was the first day of our fast. Before we left St. Ann's, Pamela called. We talked for about an hour. She was upset that we had decided to split the walk to accommodate the Goldsboro and Norfolk events and insisted that everyone be in Norfolk at 4 o'clock the next day, our scheduled arrival time. She said that anyone who was not in Norfolk on time did not belong on the walk. We were upset that such a thing could get so blown out of proportion. It also gave us the impression that the decision of the walkers meant nothing. This was the height of the conflict between the walkers and our organization. We felt that we were being told to just do the walking -- leave the thinking to the organizers, who really knew what was going on. As I left the walkers, we had not decided what we now do tomorrow, but it was becoming clear that we would have to bow to the wishes of our coordinators. While waiting for my bus I went across the street to buy a box of aspirins. The walk had just left. The cashier was screaming, "Go back to Russia! Go back to Russia!" I explained that some of the monks had also walked for peace in the Soviet Union. Then she became almost hysterical. "God damn it! Bomb 'em all! I hope they bomb them all!" This was the Smithfield that I had expected. During a short layover in Wilson I called Judy Watson, another social worker for the blind. Judy had heard that I was on the walk. She asked the standard questions about how were my feet and how many pairs of shoes I had worn out. Then she said, "You know, I kind of believe in that junk." Judy had two teenage boys. She said she feared they could be drafted to fight in a war. In Greenville I kept my doctor's appointment for a check-up by someone who knew my medical history; he found me in good health. Back at the Carroll and Edith Webbers', I napped in their Board Room, where large pieces of cardboard, destined to become picket signs, leaned on the walls. The Greenville Peace Committee had held regular weekly meetings since formation in l968 to help oppose the Vietnam war; now these were Fridays, with potluck at 6:30 to start. (Since the signing of the INF treaty in l987, they have gone to two Fridays a month.) Five members of GPC were now planning to ride their bicycles from Greenville to New York for the first week of SSD-II. They would talk to people along the way. The Webbers had ridden their tandem bicycle to the first special session in l978. April l0, Drive from Goldsboro to Norfolk I rode with Carroll from Greenville to Goldsboro. The walkers met for about five minutes, to try to make some sense out of today's schedule. We had to leave Goldsboro in less than ninety minutes. The van was hurriedly loaded. Vicki Casey would leave later in the afternoon to drive our luggage up to us in Norfolk. It would be not be possible to attend the vigil scheduled after the interfaith service. So we drove to the entrance of the base to hold our own vigil for l5 minutes. Then we drove to the AME Zion church for the program. This was the first time the N.C. Peace Network had received the support of a Goldsboro minister for its vigil at the base. It was significant too that the first church to support the vigil was a Black church. About 75 people attended the program, which was high-spirited. Most of them were church leaders and peace activists from across the state. People came from as far west as Winston-Salem. Unfortunately there were not many from the Goldsboro area itself. Jim Berry gave a very good speech. The program ended with lively singing. We got into our car and van to be driven north. Others began the two-mile walk to the base. We waved goodbye to our NC friends as we drove past them walking toward the base. The ride to Norfolk took almost four hours. I was one of Edith's passengers, while most rode with Carroll in the van. Both Carroll and Edith are very ecology-minded. They ride bicycles everywhere, even on long trips; the vehicles had been borrowed from Greenville friends. The Webbers detest automobiles' wasteful use of natural resources. This was a sacrifice for them to be willing to provide us this transportation. In this case, though, what kept Edith spluttering -- in those moments when her concentration on the overall good of the movement relaxed -- was something else: that Norfolk, with ten days, couldn't spare two hours or a few of the walkers for a long-planned vigil. On the way up, most of us napped; we were still using all of our free time to sleep. We did not have good feelings about our arrival in Norfolk, Virginia. We had heard some details of our activities in the Tidewater area. We realized that our rest break of ten days had been almost completely taken away from us. This was much as we had predicted it would be when we were in Atlanta. I had not had a true rest day since Aiken, SC. And we were still upset over the threat to withdraw all hospitality from us unless we arrived by four o'clock today. We arrived at the right place with half an hour to spare. Police cars were everywhere. As soon as I got out of the car, three reporters interviewed me, and I wished we had stopped at that last rest area ten minutes ago. Naturally there was the question, "Why are you being driven from Goldsboro if this is a peace walk?" I answered that we were being driven to have a chance to rest for ten days before beginning the final stage of the walk through the North. We had walked over l,300 miles and had still 600 miles left. The reporter remarked casually, "I've seen your schedule, and it doesn't look very restful." After a 2.5-mile walk to downtown Portsmouth, I finally met Langdon Bristol, our local coordinator. We talked about the problems caused by the conflict in schedules. Our supper tonight had been prepared by the church members. After the meal we held a meeting to review our ten days of activities in the Tidewater area. Tomorrow would be a rest day, as well as a week from tomorrow. We approved, with a minor change. The monks wanted three days for a prayer fast outside Douglas MacArthur Park. Langdon had involved thirty-five churches in providing us meals and housing. We had speaking engagements almost every day. We decided that half the people would fast for the three days, the others keeping the scheduled activities of eating and speaking. Morishita, Nagase, Sandy, Mary, Molly, and Kurimori were to begin the fast Monday and end Wednesday evening. '= April ll, Easter, Rest day in Portsmouth I was the only one who stayed at the church that day. The others got up at 4:30 a.m. to go to the Easter sunrise service at the Edgar Cayce Institute. The Japanese did not understand what they were going to. Most of them came back around noon shaking their heads. Morishita told me that they held hands and danced around in a big circle on the beach. It was very cold, too. I slept until midmorning, then wrote some letters and took time off to shoot some basketball. It felt good to be lazy and have the entire day to myself, with absolutely nothing I had to do. A Filipino family, the Vargases, prepared us a Filipino supper.
page 34April l2, Rest day in Norfolk #l Six walkers began their three-day prayer fast this morning. Morishita, Nagase, and Mary are also not drinking any liquids. They sat cross-legged on the lawn in front of the building where MacArthur is buried, chanting from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. I went inside the memorial to see if MacArthur was spinning in his grave, but he seemed very unconcerned. Perhaps he felt we were supporting his anti-nuclear statements of the mid-fifties. The rest of the group packed up the gear and moved it to St. Ann's Catholic Church in Norfolk; we got there around noon and found a big meal prepared for us. The six of us were now eating for twelve. MacArthur Park was not far from the church. Bill and I walked to the Park to spend the rest of the day with the fasters. The weather was cold and windy, but the fasters seemed to be holding up okay except Mary. She was wrapped up in her sleeping bag. Without food she found it hard to stay warm. A couple of school buses drove up to the Memorial and the kids were immediately drawn to the vigil but their teachers turned them around and marched them into the war memorial. Bill and I handed out literature and talked with people as they walked past. After supper, Rose Marie O'Connor took Molly, Bill, and me to a conservative Catholic church in Portsmouth to hear a debate on disarmament between Congressman William Whitehurst and Parker Teague, pacifist running for the U.S. Senate as an Independent. I think the Congressman was surprised to see so many there who favored disarmament. The moderator encouraged the audience to be part of the debate and think of some good questions. He also laid down ground rules. We were not to talk about nuclear weapons because people can get this information anywhere. Unfortunately Teague agreed to this, and the "debate" on nuclear disarmament went for two hours without nuclear weapons being mentioned. April l3, Rest day in Norfolk #2 Our only scheduled activity was to talk with students at St. Paul's Catholic school in Portsmouth, where we had stayed on Easter Sunday. We addressed an assembly of 250 students and talked with 8th and llth grade classes. Almost all the students had relatives who worked with the navy or at the shipyard, a large defense contractor. In the two and a half hours we were there, we spent a lot of time listening to the students and letting them talk among themselves. Clearly they had talked about nuclear war among themselves before. Undoubtedly the Tidewater area would be targeted for destruction in the event of a nuclear war between the two superpowers. We did not mention this, but we heard their awareness; one young student asked whether it was true that a person can be vaporized. His voice was full of horror. We found school children more aware of the nuclear threat than most adults think they are. Later in the afternoon Langdon ran in, visibly shaken, and called the police. She had just seen a fight outside the church in which a young man had been stabbed twice in the chest. As is too common, no one had tried to stop the fight or assist the victim. April l4, Rest day in Norfolk #3 This was the last day of the prayer fast. Sadly there was still some small dissension in the group. Carole and Jane were unhappy about the lack of rest in the Norfolk area. Carole decided to catch a bus to Virginia Beach. Jane decided to go ahead to Canterbury House near Old Dominion University, where we were to spend the night. We walked from St. Ann's Church to ODU, just three miles. Now there were only five walkers on this branch of the World Peace March, a pitifully small number. Two carried the banner, the other three behind. We were joined by Curtis, an ODU student. Curtis was our ODU coordinator and came to help provide us with directions to the campus. He made a slight detour to show us the headquarters of the Jacques Cousteau Society. We arrived at ODU shortly before noon and our student center program was to start at noon. A room had been reserved for us at a far off corner of the building. In ten minutes it was evident that no one was coming to the program, and matters were shaping up as at Paine College in Augusta. We moved the program outdoors and set up a photo display and literature table at the entrance to the building. Then we had lots of people to talk with, and many signed our petition. One professor, seeing our banner. "World Peace March l982" said seriously, "You need a new banner. It is now April." At l:00 o'clock I was scheduled to do a radio interview at WHRO, a community radio station. Slated to last only five minutes, it went for half an hour. One of the technicians asked Curtis to come to the interview also. I overheard him tell Curtis, "Just because this guy can walk doesn't mean he can talk, or know what he is talking about." This is true, but not an encouraging thing to hear as you are going in to an interview. At the end of half an hour I was pleased at how it had gone. The reporter had asked some thoughtful questions. All afternoon the monks would visit the stove to do something to the meal they were cooking to break their fast. It was mainly cabbage soup with salt plums and a half-dozen other vegetables. Langdon told me that she had to go to fourteen different stores before she was able to buy the ingredients. (Bless our coordinators. Most of them did absolutely everything they could possibly do to make us comfortable and to ensure the success of the walk.) Morishita and I sat on the front porch, talking of the European peace movement. He had personal experience working with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the International Peace Bureau, and the World Peace Campaign (mandated by First Special Session on Disarmament). We talked too of some problems the walk would face as we went through the large cities, toward the end of the walk. We knew that once past DC, our numbers would be much greater. We wanted to be sure the walk remained peaceful and were also concerned that no drugs be used. We had come a long way already; so far, the walk had been very successful. It was spring and the weather was great. Everyone was in good health. It was less than a month until we would arrive in DC -- then only three weeks more to New York City. We could begin to see the end. When I called Tim McGloin (NC coordinator) that evening, he said that the walk had had a tremendous impact on the peace movement in North Carolina. Nothing like this had ever crossed the state before. Many people were getting involved in the peace movement for the first time in their lives. April l5, Walk from Norfolk to Virginia Beach We walked 16 miles along six lanes of traffic. Most of the time the area looked like one endless shopping center. We crossed very busy intersections and walked along roads that had no shoulders. The police had declined to provide us with an escort. A young man ran up to us and asked where we were going. I said New York. He then wanted to know when we were leaving. I told him we were on our way now. His face showed disbelief, then excitement. He said he would catch up with us later in the day. We stopped for lunch break at the edge of a churchyard. Somehow lunch had not been planned. It had been a long time since this had happened. We found a couple of heads of lettuce in our food box. A while later Sam, the young man whom we had met earlier, arrived carrying the same gear as when we first saw him, a couple of small bags. He was in the Navy and had been hitchhiking back to the navy base. He had taken only a couple of hours to think us over, then crossed the street and started hitching away from the base. Langdon and Sam talked softly but intently for a long time. She wanted to be sure that he knew the consequences of his decision to leave the Navy and join the walk. She also began to explore his motives for wanting to join us. He had no previous experience in the peace movement. It looked as though his major motive was to leave the military. He was returning from leave and said that he had tried to kill himself last weekend. That was how much Sam said he hated to go back to the Navy. We told him he could join us for the rest of the day. We would have to wait a couple of days to talk with him further about joining us to New York. This was agreeable to him. We really had to use extra caution in walking along the road today. Once I tripped badly and flew headlong about twenty feet, my head two feet from the ground, but kept my balance, dodging the cars to the right and the mail boxes to the left. It gave me a glimpse of my own mortality to be at eyeball level with a car's bumper going past at sixty miles an hour.
page 35April l6, Rest day in Virginia Beach Today was fairly restful. We stayed at the Quaker House again tonight so did not have to load up our gear to move again. We were close to the Oceana Naval Air Base. The sound of navy jets was constantly in our ears. It made talking difficult. You had to shout out every fourth or fifth sentence. Sam talked late into the night with Mercury and some of the women. He was really charged up this morning, saying he hadn't been able to sleep at all last night. This morning he called one of the duty officers at the base. He told the officer that he wasn't coming back from his week's leave, which had ended two days before. Sam told him he was now going "to do God's work", so they should not bother to find him. He hung up quickly without saying anything else. Sam had made his decision. But we hadn't made ours yet. This morning seven of us went to the Quaker school next door to talk with some of the students. When Carole, Molly, and I were leaving the building we heard the sound of a single drum, in the schoolyard. It was Sakamaki, leading a peace walk of schoolchildren around the playground. It was an orderly walk, the children lined up in rows of twos. Later we held a vigil at Oceana Naval Air Station, at the observation point where a monument had been built for the POWs, during the Vietnam War. At one time an eternal flame had burned there. This was as close as we could get to the air fields. We did not see any MPs. But a man from military intelligence was there to take our pictures. Langdon said she had met him on lots of other occasions. Langdon had told me of being permanently banned from the military base because of an activity she had engaged in while in high school. She and some of her friends had gone on the base to sing carols at Christmas time, as lots of other groups were doing. This was during the Vietnam War. All were quickly arrested when they started singing carols about peace on earth. To be released, they had to sign papers promising never to return to the base. We left Oceana and went back to the Quaker House. Supper was to be served in less than an hour. About thirty people came to that potluck supper, all well-dressed; as usual, we spaced ourselves around the room to talk with as many as possible. Conversation wasn't easy for me that night. People were asking me one question right after the other. This wasn't so bad in itself -- what was so difficult was that they were asking the same question at five-minute intervals. The person beside me would ask, "Where are you from?" Soon the person sitting across the table would ask me the same question. This went on for about forty-five minutes. Finally I excused myself to go help prepare for the evening program. As I walked past Mercury on my way to the kitchen, someone asked him, "So, where are you from?" I needed to get away to pull myself together. It's strange that every night for more than three months I had had this question asked me. It was the repetition of so many conversations that was finally getting to me, not the fault of the people there that night. Langdon was in the kitchen. She and I talked for ten minutes. I asked her who our hosts were for the supper. They did not seem completely sympathetic to the walk. She said it was the Edgar Cayce Institute. She said that when she approached them originally, they said they would support us by sending out "good vibrations". She thanked them for the good vibes, but said she would appreciate food also, and they did provide a very good meal. After nine o'clock, we walkers had the Quaker House to ourselves again. Pamela, Langdon, and her three children all stayed the night with us. The presence of children invariably lifted our spirits. Sandy told me that she had sat at the supper table beside Nagase. A woman sitting across the table from the two of them kept shaking her finger at Nagase and slowly repeating, "Jesus, Jesus..." Nagase pretended he didn't understand English. After the program the same woman took Sandy aside. She told Sandy that "I think you need to talk to the Japanese boys about Jesus." April l7, Rest day in Norfolk #4 We were driven from Virginia Beach to Norfolk to lead a one-mile walk through the business district. The walk began at eleven o'clock with about forty people joining. It ended at Lafayette Park, where the Festival of Hope would begin in two hours, leaving us about two hours for lunch and mailcall. We had a letter from Pamela addressed to Carole, Mercury, and "the other western walkers". It was a long, ten-page letter which we talked about over lunch. She was reprimanding us for our decision to let some people attend the Goldsboro vigil. We were to cooperate fully with our local coordinators and also try to limit our demands on them. She then outlined the hierarchy of importance of those involved in the walk. The national organization was at the top. Then came the local organization, the Japanese monks, the other Japanese, finally the other walkers. She said the World Peace March was analogous to a plant. The organizational structure was the root system, the monks were the stem, and the other walkers were the plant's leaves. As we know, a leaf is dispensable. It can fall off and hardly be noticed. I had thought that everyone involved in the World Peace March was working for the same objective. We certainly had different functions, but everyone was doing what they could, according to their circumstances, abilities, and inclinations. Pamela warned that the schedule from Richmond to New York would be very difficult. She said that the divisiveness had to end. If anyone could not agree to become more disciplined, then he or she should leave the walk immediately. The letter was meant to strengthen internal discipline but worsened it. The western walkers already felt that our sacrifices were being belittled. Then a letter comes telling us that could drop out right now, fall off like leaves, and we'd never be missed. But now it was time for the Festival of Hope. (Was it ever!) About eighty people attended the festival. I was disappointed in the number, but the local organizers were very satisfied. This was the largest peace gathering in Norfolk in recent history, even more than during the Vietnam protests. Two people from Washington, DC spoke, one from Sojourners and one from the Center for Defense Information. Four walkers were asked to speak: Morishita, Bill, Carole, and I. Three musical groups performed. Almost everyone stayed for the entire three hours of the Festival. As we started to leave, Mary got sick. The three-day fast had done damage to her digestive system. Tomorrow was scheduled as a total rest day, but we had been scheduled for a lunch hosted by the National Organization for Women (NOW), and most of the walkers had planned to spend the whole day at the beach. Discussing this with Langdon during supper, she thought it would be okay as long as some walkers kept the lunch date. Back at the church, Langdon and I talked another two hours. I believe there had been a communication mix-up. Langdon had never been told that the rest days were needed to recover from fatigue and to prepare ourselves for the miles and programs yet ahead. She had done what she ordinarily should have done. That was to maximize our exposure. There was blame to be shared about the existing hard feelings as we arrived in the Tidewater area. In the end, no one was really at fault. Later that night, Pamela called from Atlanta. Almost everyone was asleep. Bill took the call. She warned us not to treat lightly whether to let Sam join and asked us not to. We had not yet held a meeting to talk about this; we needed more time to get to know him better. We could see him changing every day. He was more relaxed and his vocabulary was not so violent. But he still had a long way to go before becoming a pacifist -- that was for sure. It was also clear that he wanted to change, to become more peaceful. No one had any objection to Sam's remaining with us on a day-to-day basis, at least for now. The major objections were that he was a male chauvinist and that it was hard to convince him that people needed to sleep at night. April l8, Rest day in Norfolk #5 There had not been a lot of walking during the past week -- less than 25 miles. But, the week's activities had drained a lot of our energy. A schedule of walking each day would have almost been preferable to last week's activities. You could see the exhaustion in every one's eyes. The monks' morning prayers did not even wake me up today. I got up for breakfast at 8 o'clock. After breakfast I went back to sleep and slept until about eleven. Almost everyone had left for a day at the beach. The people from Virginia Beach arrived in three cars around noon to pick us up. They were disappointed to be bringing back only six walkers for lunch. When we got to the house, we learned why. The last message they had was that there would be about sixteen people who were heavy eaters, so they should prepare food as they would for twice as many. This information had been garbled, and some of them were expecting 32 walkers when the six of us walked in. Many of the NOW members there were retired navy nurses and officers' wives. Questions started as we walked through the door, before we could sit down. "What do you think is more important: feminism or disarmament?" and "Is it true that Buddhists suppress women more than Christians do?" The monks had trouble understanding English again today. I had literally to bite my tongue before the meal was over. And bless 'em. That NOW chapter did more than was asked. It wasn't their fault that we were so tired at this point that we could barely think. I wondered what was the hierarchy of fatigue on the World Peace March. Was it the roots, the stems, or the leaves that were nearest exhaustion? Pamela had written that our feet were blistered but that her brain was "blistered". Every night since the walk began she had been up past 2 a.m., making phone calls and writing letters.
page 36April l9, Drive from Norfolk to Newport News We had to be driven today, for we could not walk through the long tunnel under Hampton Roads. However, we could walk a way later in the day once in Newport News. Our local coordinators were now John and Susan Johnson, and the local support group was Pax Christi. For the next two nights we were to stay at Mary Immaculate Hospital. We had the entire wing on the third floor -- ten single rooms for fifteen people. These unique accommodations had been arranged for us by a staff doctor, a member of PSR. Having arrived at eleven, after getting an orientation lecture, our detailed schedule, and lunch, we found ourselves at l:00 o'clock in a press conference in the parking lot. The hospital's public relations person said that the hospital was for peace but had no need to take a position on nuclear weapons now. An hour or two later, a guard came up to Jane and me at the coffee bar to point out that Carole, Mercury, and Sandy, called "strange people" by many people calling him, were sleeping on the lawn. "Hell, this is a hospital!" he said, adding they were all a little jumpy since their pharmacy was robbed two nights ago. The staff was not too friendly toward us. When we walked past the sisters, they neither smiled nor spoke. We saw no patients. They were warming up considerably by the time we left. At 4:30 we started for the Unitarian Church for supper and a program. It was a five-mile walk and exposed us with our banners to the commuters who gave us lots of waves and peace signs, military included. Walking again felt good. It was a large church and many came on this first day of "Ground Zero Week", a week that turned out to make a big impact on public opinion. Returning to the hospital afterward, we had to go in the emergency room entrance, where the still nervous guard counted us as we came in. Short of beds for all, some like me slept on the floor; I was wakened all through the night by "Dr. Cardio-Pulmonary, call the switchboard." April 20, Rest day in Newport News For this busy fourteen-hour day, with almost no walking, we started at the Catholic School of Newport News at 8:30. The principal had been under pressure from his Board to revoke his permission for us to speak. The President and another Board member met us in the parking lot, and not to welcome us. For three hours they were in and out of the classes in which we were talking, sitting in the back and taking notes. At first we saw only a few students, most of them jeering from classroom windows. Dividing into four groups, we talked with almost every student before leaving, and it turned out that most were eager for information, and supportive, although a few ripped up our literature, threw it down, stomped on it. But most realized they were a target area, the fallout shelter signs hardly reassuring. Many expressed a fear of nuclear war along with a fear of the Russians. The President of the Board attended our last class. He reviewed his notes, then raised his hand, and I got ready for a lively debate. He asked, "Why aren't you marching against abortion?" and then "Why aren't you marching against secular humanism?" Then we let the students have a turn at asking. Before we left, the principal took John aside and asked whether Pax Christi would come to the school to do a follow-up program. John told us later that Pax Christi had been trying for a long time to get to speak at a large Catholic school. After more one-on-ones during cafeteria lunch, we left from the school parking lot for a five-block walk to the "Victory Arch" at the shipyard. As we left, students were hanging out the windows, arms waving madly as they shouted goodbyes. It was a contrast to our arrival. After a one-hour prayer vigil at the Arch, we went to the coliseum for another but were six hours early. But obedient to our schedule, we stood in a rain in a nearly-empty parking lot for the hour. Sandy went off to talk to carneys putting up tents and rides; she told us of one encounter with three men looking at a Penthouse magazine. She told them of the walk. They had three questions. "Do you f___?" "Do you take drugs?" "Do you get drunk at night?" Answering with three noes, she told them life on the walk was plenty intense without these. In half an hour she had fifteen petition signatures and returned with a couple of carneys who watched the end of our vigil. Later, over coffee, Kajo (Ishiyama) confided how tired he was. I see now that I was of little support, having responded feebly, "Yeah, we're all tired. We should have had more rest in Norfolk." And, over supper, Kajo and all of us heard the next day's schedule. We were slated at Christopher Newport College in the morning and at Williamsburg after walking eighteen miles in the afternoon. There had to be a change, so Mary, Molly, Kajo, and I would do the program at the college and ride to catch up to the others walking. That evening our program at the Lutheran Church competed with two others at the same time. Guests at one wore semi-formal attire, at the other they came dressed as cowboys and cowgirls. We were first on the scene, and the other two groups made their way through a group of weary Buddhist monks and peace walkers on the front lawn and steps. Dr. Watson, passing by, might have stumped even Holmes with a gloating phone query about the sight. We had only about ten at our program, which we kept short leaving most of the time for discussion. One couple had immigrated from Hungary in the fifties; they were alarmed that our sincere efforts for peace would be used by Soviet propagandists. As we were about to leave in our van, John called me back. Two people wished to make donations. (We never solicited donations.) An elderly man gave us $20, struggling to keep tears from his eyes; he was contributing in the name of his grandchildren. That night I heard "Cardio-pulmonary" paged again, regularly. But it was different because it was my turn to sleep in the bed. April 2l, Newport News to Williamsburg Molly, Mary, Kajo, John, and I remained behind as the walkers left the hospital. The walk though small was impressive with the drum beats, the chant, and the banners. I was proud, watching the walk disappear down the highway. After the college program and lunch we drove toward Williamsburg, expecting to catch them in about ten miles. But they had gone 15 -- beyond what the coordinator had figured and only three miles from the city limits. So there was no parade permit nor notification of the city officials in advance, and we were stopped by police and officials. John talked with the police, the police talked with their supervisors, and I talked with Sandy, who reported on their morning. Once, she said, two excited men stopped their car and ran over. They were fundamentalists just back from Japan, where they had witnessed a ceremony in which thousands of Buddhists had been converted to Christianity; now they saw their chance to add a few monks. Sandy had lost her temper after ten minutes, saying, "Leave us in peace, won't you?" and was later reprimanded by Morishita for her discourtesy. The county police gave us a go-ahead. Inside Williamsburg we were stopped by the city police who quickly waved us on also. Then we were stopped once more. This time is was our local coordinator, Penny. She and Morishita went off somewhere; Morishita later told me that she feared our being on private property there would not be understood by people in this wealthy neighborhood, where in fact she lived herself. In answer to Morishita's query, she admitted she had not tried to explain the walk there. How then could she say that they would not understand? Morishita thought that many times people underrestimated the support for the peace movement and gave up without even trying. So the walk continued about two miles to the center of Colonial Williamsburg. We were stopped again when a man came running from the city hall, putting his coat on as he ran. Two policemen behind him were more leisurely. He got up to us and shouted, "Stop! Stop! I'm the city manager. The chief of the city. Do you understand? The chief! The head of the city!" We were violating the noise ordinance, he said. This chief had to shout to be heard above the muffler of the car stopped beside us at a traffic light. Morishita pointed and asked if it was violating the noise ordinance, since the muffler was louder than we were. The chief seemed taken aback. By now, John had parked and joined ue. He was wearing a coat and tie for our college program. The manager, visibly relieved, took John aside, and the result was we could walk ahead but only the monks could beat drums and chant. Now the manager walked alongside, putting his fingers to his lips when he thought the chant too loud. He left us when we turned along the William and Mary campus, and we all resumed beating the drum and chanting as loudly as we could. Arriving early at Walsingham Academy despite a route lengthened by agreement of John and the city manager, we had another surprise. Tomorrow would be a rest day. Were we so disorganized now that even such simple communications were failing us? And we had a free hour right now. In this time, Morishita for the only time talked with me about his plans for the future. He would continue with peace walks in Europe for the next two years. Then he hoped to go to China, a country with nuclear weapons but one which has never had a peace walk. He would also like to help return Buddhism to China. He thinks he will spend the rest of his life in China, walking and praying for peace, "or perhaps, they will put me in jail." We were part of William & Mary's "Ground Zero" program, and there were 200 people for us and the UN film, "Nuclear Countdown". The only negative part was that Sam spoke a lot during the question period, depriving others in the audience their turn. Sam was also giving out grossly inaccurate information, tending to make us look bad. John and Morishita came to me to ask me to talk with Sam. I did, and he agreed to answer questions in his special area, not where we had long-prepared information. Back at the Academy I slept outside with Mercury, Carole, Sandy, Mary, and Fredericka to see large meteor showere which were due. I went to sleep immediately. It was too cloudy anyway.
page 37April 22, Rest day in Williamsburg Most people went sight-seeing. Morishita looked tense and distressed. I wrote twenty-five letters. April 23, Williamsburg to Barhamsville We had no schedule and so enjoyed an l8-mile walk in beautiful weather. Dr. Nan Smith of PSR brought us lunch and walked the rest of the day. It took a sad half-hour to say good-bye to John and Susan Johnson and Dr. Smith. But no one was tired tonight and we stayed up late talking. April 24, Barhamsville to West Point Ten miles, from West Point's Catholic church to West Point's Catholic church. (We had been shuttled ahead to sleep and back to resume walking.) Our coordinators Pam and Langdon hid jugs of water at the five-mile mark to compensate for lack of any support vehicle, but Langdon's ten-year-old son John needed one and had to stop, exhausted and with blistered feet after eight miles. We walked past a gigantic pulp mill on the Pamunkey River; toothless workers and their families stopped what they were doing to stare at us blankly; it looked like the week's work (this was Saturday) had taken the life out of them. Many of us did our laundry in the priest's washing machine; I read a book; people brought us supper but few stayed to be with us. This was an even more restful day than the day before. We went to sleep earlier than usual but lost an hour during the night to daylight savings time. April 25, West Point to New Kent It was still spring-like as we walked 15 miles by heavily wooded areas as well as large wheat fields in this region where Martha Washington grew up. We passed a marker telling us we were near the church where George Washington and Martha Custis were married; there were many historical markers today along this Martha Washington Highway. I wanted to read them all, but the pace was so fast that I gave up. At lunch break some of us cracked acorns and ate them. I walked over to read the marker nearby and found that Jeb Stewart ha stopped here, to rest for several hours in an l862 campaign. One hundred and twenty years after Jeb, with his black plume, rested with his men under these oaks, their bodies war-weary, another group would rest, their bodies weary from a different campaign. Oh Jeb, don't we all long for the end of the war march, and for the end of the need for the peace march? I heard on the radio today that England and Argentina had begun fighting over the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. Only on that very day had Langdon found us that night's lodging, a Methodist Church in New Kent; we would sleep outdoors since there was a Bible study class that night. Fredericka was going to prepare our supper by herself and had gone ahead for this, but we were hungry already when we got to the church; we had only boxes of cornflakes in the food box and yoffled them by the handfuls. Now Mercury brought out his guitar and began to play and sing. Kurimori the seeker handed Sandy a pair of scissors and simply said, "Haircut, please." The rest of us spread blankets and rested. Langdon discovered there were two Indian reservations nearby, and asked Morishita whether he would like to go and talk with the chiefs. The Nipponzan Myohoji had a close working relationship with the American Indian Movement. Morishita, Langdon, and Pam left to meet with the chiefs. They hoped for an invitation to spend tomorrow night at one of the reservations. Though we already had accommodations for that night, we wanted to make connections, if possible, with native Americans. They returned several hours later, unsuccessful. One of the chiefs was sick, unable to talk. Morishita smiled as he said that the other chief was a Baptist minister and did not appreciate the relationship between AIM and the Buddhists. The young Methodist minister, George, arrived. We persuaded him to join us for supper. He circulated, talking briefly with everyone. He had a reason. The weather was threatening rain and, before he left, he invited us to sleep indoors; he would move his Bible study class to another house, now that he had a good feeling for who we were. We were grateful, and more so in the morning when we found it had rained heavily in the night. April 26, New Kent to Sandston What a strange day that day turned out to be. Looking back on our walk from New Orleans, I realize that every minute of every day is filled to its limit with excitement and activity. Every day had its special character. But April 26 was uniquely unique. It was raining when I woke, and it continued heavily all day long. The walk was shorter, under ten miles. We were to meet our hosts at the Richmond airport at 3 o'clock, so decided not to leave the church until l0:00. Perhaps the rain would have stopped. Rainy or not, it was Sandy's birthday and we celebrated with her favorite food, corn -- she was kept upstairs until breakfast was ready: corn on the cob, corn margarine, corn bread, popcorn, and corn chips. When the table was ready she was allowed in and presented with a necklace of popcorn. After breakfast we packed up the cars and cleaned up the church. At nine o'clock we held a meeting with Langdon to discuss our Richmond schedule. Again -- as usual -- not a lot was known. Langdon did know that a lot of meals had been planned for us. In Virginia, even eating had become a point of contention for some of us. Yesterday, four people -- Carole, Sandy, Mary, and Molly -- had decided they would go on a three-day cleansing fast. For the three days in Richmond they would eat eight apples a day and no other food. They had heard about this diet at the Edgar Cayce Institute. Now, all we knew about our schedule in Richmond was that we would have meals with prominent religious leaders. So, the fact that four of us decided to eat only apples at these meals became a matter that concerned all of us. Most of them agreed to forego their cleansing fast, although we all sympathized with them. The fact that the walkers lost control of what food they could put in their bodies irritated us all. After the meeting, Sandy confronted Langdon over what she thought was the lack of respect shown us while we were in Virginia. "We can not even decide when to eat or not eat." She also confronted Langdon over the threat that hospitality would be withdrawn from us in Virginia if we did not cooperate fully. The confrontation that I had feared when we first arrived in Norfolk finally erupted the day before we arrived in Richmond. Everyone was aware of the disagreement. The walkers were silent and solemn as we left the small wooden church. Rain was still pouring down. The schedule of the day's walk was terrible for this weather: we didn't have to walk far but we couldn't arrive until 3 o'clock. Langdon and Pam left, supposedly to drive up to Sandston to unload our luggage at the Baptist Church there. We didn't see them again until l:00 o'clock when they arrived with our lunch. All our luggage was still in their cars and they left us immediately, once again to take our luggage to the church. We walked until lunchtime, seeing no reason to stop to rest in the downpour. Then we stopped to wait for Langdon and Pam, underneath an overpass, soaking wet but out of the rain. We peeled off our rainwear and sat on the concrete beneath the bridge, and they came before long with the lunch, some left-over salad from supper and left-over corn bread and popcorn from breakfast. The two cars left as soon as the food was out. Pam would stop her car to wave goodbye to us later that day; we didn't see Langdon again until June llth in New York City. We had a guest for lunch. He wouldn't tell us his name nor did he eat any of our food, but had brought us each a soft drink in the pickup in which he arrived, driving recklessly. He was drunk. After some sad talk, and grandiose invitations to our "wonderful walk" which he didn't really understand, he saw us leaving and kissed Sandy, Molly, and Carole on the mouth. Molly told me, "I want to throw up. He stuck his tongue in my mouth!" But he couldn't scramble after us up the concrete under the bridge, and began to pray and cry in a loud voice. The Walk thus received yet another blessing. We looked at one another, shaking our heads. We arrived at the Richmond airport in Sandston only a few minutes before 3 o'clock. Langdon had told Mercury, who was now our group leader, to wait at the front entrance to the airport. She had given him a telephone number for our host, but no name. As soon as we stopped, the police began to gather, and soon there were four police cars. Bill and I joked that the police probably thought that the Hare Krishnas were making an assault on the airport. After a few minutes, Mercury called the number, but the person who answered had never heard of us. While Mercury stood at the entrance to the airport, the rest of us went across the road to a warm, dry place. We peeled off our wet rainwear for the second time today and hung it to dry on the Howard Johnson coat-rack. We ordered coffee, all the time watching Mercury out in the rain and the still-increasing numbers of police cars. When our drivers arrived, about half an hour later, we asked whether we could first be taken to our luggage so that we could change into dry clothes. We were told that this was not possible, although no reason was given. We were driven immediately to a house in a middle-class neighborhood for supper. Everything was so hectic that I do not recall being ntroduced to our host. In any event, I do not recall her name. I do remember that she had just driven in from the hospital where her husband had been taken after suffering a heart attack the night before. She let us put our wet socks and shoes in her dryer, and we sat in the basement game room in order not to get the upstairs furniture wet. She was busy upstairs preparing a big spaghetti supper, so we did not get a real chance to know her. She must have been an exceptional person to be willing to help us in spite of her husband's serious illness. Our host for the Richmond area, Diantha, was there to greet us and go over our Richmond schedule. The Richmond Peace Center had done an excellent job of organizing our stay in the area. Everything was perfect, except for one point: the police would not allow us to carry any metal or wooden poles in our banners. This was a city ordinance, and there was nothing that Diantha could do about it. We seized upon this point to vent our day's frustration, though we knew we would have to obey the regulations. Our tempers were a little short because we had walked all day in the rain and then been forced to wait in our wet clothes. We would rather not have had supper. And the cavalier manner in which our discomfort had been treated did not help. In so many words we were told, "Sure you are wet and muddy, so sit in the basement so that you won't drip on the carpet." The problem of the poles was resolved in a call to the police department. The aluminum pole to the prayer banner would be allowed, and Diantha could get us some cardboard poles, used in carpet-rolls to replace the wooden poles. So another burning issue was resolved. Shortly after Diantha left, Bill asked me, "Why do we have to alienate all of our local coordinators as soon as we meet them?" Since Durham, we had managed this with depressing regularity.
page 38April 27, Sandston to Richmond Thankfully the rain had stopped and it was a beautiful day. The walk was only seven miles from the city limits of Richmond to the city hall. After a couple of miles, we stopped at a city park where we were greeted by a jazz band of street musicians and about thirty other people, all singing and dancing. We took a half-hour break to celebrate our arrival into Richmond, and most of the walkers joined in the singing and dancing. A couple of the musicians asked Morishita if the band could join us for the walk to city hall. Morishita said that he was grateful for their support. So we walked the final five together, the monks and most of the peace walkers in the front of the march, beating drums and chanting. Behind us came the street musicians, playing their drums and trumpets, and a chorus clapping and singing. Mercury was trying to conduct the street musicians so that their music was in time with the chant. Morishita definitely looked confused. He had no idea that this was going to be happening. The character of the march had definitely changed and it was no longer a Buddhist prayer for peace. But we were well received as we walked through the poorer neighborhoods. Everywhere, people were running out to watch us and to get our literature. We got to the city hall shortly before noon. We waited outside where we were to have been greeted by the mayor. After about fifteen minutes, we were invited into the city hall where we were received. Mayor Marsh, a young black man, told us that he was a good friend of the mayor of New Orleans. In his brief talk to us, he made only passing references to disarmament or the UN, but he gave us all sun visors and invited us to tour his beautiful city. He closed his welcoming remarks with this question: "I want to know how you got so many beautiful women to join you?" This was followed by dead silence. Then Carole answered in a firm voice that women were interested in peace also. Marsh then exited. Most of us, except the monks, put on our sun visors and took the elevator to the top floor where we tried to find a landmark that Marsh had just told us about. Most of the rest of the day was spent in just waiting. April 28, Rest day #1 in Richmond This, the first of our four rest days in Richmond, was unusually cold and windy, but what a flurry of activity! Today General Electric held its annual stockholders meeting at the John Madison Hotel in downtown Richmond. The Brandywine Community from Philadelphia had set up a picket line outside the hotel to hand entering stockholders a leaflet asking the company to stop making parts for nuclear weapons systems. Highlighted as especially offensive was the production of the guidance system for the Mark XII-A missile. Brandywine displayed a unique possession -- the nose cone of a Mark XII-A missile built by G.E. -- which they found in the garbage behind the G.E. plant in Philadelphia. The people from the peace walk stood outside the hotel in the almost wintry weather. (I'd left my heavy clothes in Durham.) The monks prayed while the rest of us handed out leaflets. We also tried to talk to the stockholders as they left their limos and made a mad rush to the hotel. Most refused our literature. Maybe they knew that we'd altered GE's familiar slogan to "G.E. brings the bomb to life." Brandywine had asked sympathetic people who held GE stock to give them their proxies. This meant some Brandywine people could enter the meeting and have the right to be heard. From time to time one would come out to let us know what was happening on the floor. Conflict began with the opening prayer. A local Presbyterian minister asked God to "Quieten the strident voices of dissent outside. He concluded with the petition that "The corporate will be done." Immediately after the prayer, a woman from Brandywine stood and said, "That is the most blasphemous thing I have ever heard." Then she walked out of the meeting. Throughout the two-hour business meeting, protesters were interrupting with questions like, "When is GE going to stop making systems for nuiclear weapons?" A resolution to this effect was finally introduced, debated, and defeated. The media were outside interviewing the protesters, the stockholders, and passersby. I heard the interview with one stockholder in a fur coat. Asked what she thought of the protesters, she replied, "They're weird." "What do you mean, they're weird?" "They are dressed weird," "They are Buddhist monks from Japan." "I don't know. It is my opinion that they are weird." The GE meeting was going to recess for lunch between noon and l:00 o'clock. We took the same hour for our lunch at the soup kitchen at St. Paul's Church, where we had a chance to talk with John Machino, who was to be our coordinator from DC to NYC. John said that Pamela had called him last night and asked him to meet with us today. She was concerned about two things. The first, and of relatively minor consequence, was the fact that not all of us attended a noon meal that had been prepared for us at Virginia Beach. The second, and of major consequence, was Pamela's demand that Sam leave the walk. She considered Sam's presence to be a serious threat to the walk for several reasons. His language and behavior were violent. The first night he had demonstrated to one of Langdon's sons how to kill a person with your bare hands. He had no commitment to non-violence, by his own admission. No one knew anything about him. He had lied to us about the name of his commanding officer. Pamela had checked that out. He had carried a weapon while on the walk. He had volunteered this information himself and had voluntarily surrendered the knife to Morishita. Pamela further said he was an embarrassment to the peace walk. He took part in the programs like a recently converted zealot. Yet he really knew nothing, in his heart or in his mind, about what it meant to be a pacifist. This was immediately evident, and people were complaining to Pamela about his presence. Soon Sam would no longer be UA (Unauthorized Absence) and would be a deserter. This would mean that people who hosted him at night could, conceivably, be charged with a crime. Pamela was also concerned that he might even be an agent provocateur. She had a long list. For ourselves, we were reluctant to ask him to leave. After all, he was someone who had left the Navy to join the peace walk. If we abandoned Sam, what would this say about the peace movement's commitment to other young men who had left the military? Sam was aware of the controversy and asked that we hold a meeting to discuss the matter. But first, we had to return to the hotel to complete a half-hour vigil at the GE meeting. The police were more in evidence this afternoon. It seemed that they really desired a confrontation with us. We had a permit for the vigil, yet they would push each protester aside if, in their opinion, he or she was blocking the view of the merchandise in a display window. "These merchants have the right for their display to be seen." How can one argue with such inalienable rights? At 1:30 we ended the vigil and walked the short distance to the Richmond Peace Education Center where we immediately began the meeting which Sam had called. John had to return to work in DC, but he remained long enough to again express Pamela's concerns. (He was much more solemn today than when we knew him in Georgia. No one remembered seeing him laugh today.) Our meeting lasted two and a half hours. At times emotions ran high. After about ninety minutes of discussions, we went around the circle and everyone gave their opinion. As often happened, opinions and views were not necessarily restricted to the subject at hand. But somehow, we finally managed to end the meeting with good feelings. It was decided that, for now, Sam would be allowed to stay. I was gratified to hear Mercury say that we had made the mistake of kicking walkers off the walk in Alabama and should not be so quick to repeat that mistake. Supper was with Catholic Bishop Walter Sullivan who greeted us at the doorway. Sam returned the greeting with, "I've never met a real bishop before." I was glad the meal was low key -- soup and sandwiches in the living room with many people sitting on the floor. The interfaith service which followed was noteworthy for the cathedral (definitely the most impressive church we had been in thus far), the hundreds of people in attendance, and the reflections of the bishop and Rabbi Beverly Lerner. April 29, Rest day #2 in Richmond As we gathered for the trip to an interfaith program at the University of Virginia, we shared a fifteen-page letter which had come yesterday. It was from a woman in Hampton, VA, whom none of us remembered meeting. She began by presenting her credentials: She had been appointed President of the US when she was three years old by Calvin Coolidge. Also, in a previous life, she had been Pope Pius XII. Then she got to the heart of her dissertation on war and peace: there will always be civil wars as long as people continue to have pins and rods placed in their teeth. We put the letter away and piled into a van to go to Charlottesville. We arrived at the University of Virginia just as the program was beginning. Eight world religions were represented, including Zoroastrianism. Some of the prayers and readings were on tape. Morishita's talk was the only one with real social content. After the program the walkers went outside for lunch on the lawn. We were joined by only a few other people, one a German woman who talked almost constantly. Her husband was a pacifist. The two of them left Germany during WW II. She asked Mercury where he was from. Hoping to avoid her, he said "I am a Canadian." In the past he had denied his German origins for immigration purposes and to avoid "How could you do it?" comments. Too bad Morishita did not understand Mercury's desire to avoid a motor mouth. (Maybe he himself wanted to escape, since she was addressing herself particularly to him.) At supper he introduced Mercury as a German and from then on Mercury had a close companion. He later shared her inadvertently-dropped opinion of us: "My husband was not just a peace worker. He was an intellectual." After lunch we set up our photo display. The monks were praying with their drums and chants while the rest of us distributed leaflets and asked people to sign our petition. Ah, but our local supporters had not obtained the necessary permits. Soon the Dean of Student Affairs was running toward us, demanding to know what was going on. I was the third person he had talked with, and when I didn't know who our local coordinator was he lost patience. "We don't allow our students to do this, and we are not about to let you do it." Finally it was resolved that only the monks would be allowed to beat the drums and chant. And this had to be done quietly. After all, final exams were in two days and the students had to study. We continued our activity for about an hour. Overall, we were well received. About 50 people signed our petition. But about one-fourth of the students refused even to look at us as they walked past. It was especially sad to see the young long-haired professors at Tom Jefferson's college act in this manner. I could imagine them as peace activists in their student days. At 5 o'clock we gathered to walk two miles downtown. Fredericka Hall (with us from Norfolk on) and Mary continued to leaflet as we walked through rush-hour traffic. About 20 people had prepared our potluck supper tonight. Most were friends of Bill's, whom he had known when he worked at "In Us Free" near Charlottesville. This is a community for mentally handicapped adults, similar to the L'Arche community which had helped host us in Mobile, AL. Bill chose to stay over a few days to visit with friends and then rejoin us before we left Richmond. April 30, Rest day #3 in Richmond Today was going to be a real rest day. I spent the better part of the morning just sitting out in the back yard enjoying the warm sunshine. In the afternoon Molly and I saw "On Golden Pond." It seemed like years since I'd seen a movie. Then Doug arrived to walk with us for the final six weeks. And then it was time to get ready for another potluck supper, this one with Rabbi Beverly's an Or Ammi. It was followed by their regular service and then our program. We were ready to leave when the phone rang. It was Pamela to speak to Morishita. I was near Morishita when he was told of the call and he asked me to remain close to talk with her if necessary. He could not always understand her speech on the telephone. She was upset that Sam was still with us and declared that he had to leave. If he was with us when we walked out of Richmond in two days, she threatened to call the police to have him arrested. I thought at the time that this was a bluff. But Morishita and I told her of the group's meeting yesterday and our consensus that Sam be allowed to stay with us. Morishita and I were passing the phone back and forth to each other every five minutes. Pamela was repeating the same arguments to us both. When the call was over, it was becoming apparent that we would have to yield to her wishes -- and now not so sure but that she was right. Of course, all the walkers knew of the phone call and what the conversation was about, but no one talked about it tonight. I had trouble sleeping as I went over Pamela's arguments, still trying to refute them.
page 39May l, Rest day #4 in Richmond_ We had the day free until 3 o'clock. Then on the way to the park our hosts had car trouble. We were unable to let the rest of the group know what was keeping us. When we arrived at 5 o'clock, we found that the group had already held a meeting and decided. Sam knew the problem his presence was causing between us and our organization. Because of this, at the beginning of the meeting he announced that he would be leaving. Almost everyone felt bad about the decision and how it was made. Whenever we looked at Sam we turned away to fight back tears._ Langdon Bristol had arranged to come up tonight to drive Sam back to Norfolk. He would then be put in contact with a draft counselor and a lawyer to provide him with legal assistance in leaving the Navy if that was what he wanted to do. A little later I saw Langdon, Morishita, and Sam talking together at the edge of the park. Langdon did not come by to say "Hello," nor did Sam come by to say "Goodbye."_ (After the walk ended, I talked with Langdon and Pamela about Sam. After Langdon dropped him off in Norfolk that night, no one heard from him again. He did not keep the appointments with the counselor and lawyer. It could be that Pamela had been right that he was a provocateur. Or perhaps he was disillusioned with the peace walk.)_ Doug was sick and went to bed almost as soon as we got back to our host McElvees'. Molly and I babysat with nine-month old Patrick so that they could go out for the evening._ May 2, Richmond to Ashland_ I woke up this morning with the flu. All my muscles ached and I was nauseous. I ate one bite of breakfast and had to run to the bathroom. I did not think I would be able to walk, and Michael and Eileen said I could stay with them this morning. Then they would take me to the rest of the group after lunch. I went back to bed for a couple more hours. Doug told me that when Morishita heard that I could not walk today, he said "So, the mighty Andy has finally fallen to the ground." Definitely. But I got up around the middle of the morning feeling much better._ Both Michael and Eileen McElvee would be able to walk with us after lunch. I felt I would be well enough to walk, too._ On the way to pick up Michael, Eileen showed me the house where she and Michael had recently lived and worked, a home that provided respite care for mentally handicapped children._ Michael told me that in 1970 he helped blockade U.S. l at College Park, MD. The University of Maryland students occasionally blocked that highway during the Vietnam Moratorium. Now, years later, he would participate in a peace action walking beside his wife and pushing his son in a stroller. Patrick was asleep, unaware that the stroller bounced more from side to side than it moved forward._ We made an unscheduled stop outside the Smokey Pig restaurant when a customer rushed out offering to buy us all iced tea. We sat down on the brick wall in front of the restaurant, and waitresses brought all sixteen of us large glasses of iced tea. I was grateful for the tea, but even more for the fifteen minute rest. My body was still sick and letting me know it. Bill did the interview with the newspaper reporter. The photographer took plenty of pictures of the Peace March lounging outside the Smokey Pig._ We were hosted tonight at Randolph Macon College. At 6 o'clock we assembled outside the cafeteria. As it would happen, tonight was the night that the school's new cafeteria was being dedicated. Alumni and supporters were coming from the cafeteria as we stood in a circle holding hands, singing "Thank you for this day, O Lord," and offering prayers, some Buddhist. I heard one elderly alumna admonish an administration official. "Now . . . keep a firm grip on these students. That's what they need!" No one joined our circle, but I heard a few of the student cafeteria employees singing a song that we had sung, "Happiness runs in a circular motion."_ The next day, Doug told me about his night on a frat house couch. His invitation had come from only one of the brothers, and most of the others weren't happy about it. They had set off fire- crackers all through the night -- especially to keep Doug awake? _ May 3, Ashland to Dobson_ I woke up feeling much better this morning, but I think I still had some fever. The weather continued sunny with mild temperatures, and we had only nine miles to walk._ Our host tonight was Jean, a Quaker who lived by herself on a farm at the end of a long dirt road. She let us stay in the Friends meeting room, asking only that we not use much water from the well. There had been very little rain lately and the well was almost dry._ We were on a farm in the country with most of the day to ourselves. There were many times when it felt right for the walkers to be apart. This was one of the many times when it felt right for us to be together. Sandy mended Kajo's shoes. Some people had their sleeping bags spread in the shade and were taking an afternoon nap. Molly fixed Kurimori's hair in dreadknots. He came outside, more than a little self-conscious. Cameras were brought out and pictures taken. Then in less than half an hour, Kurimori was wearing his hair in his regular style. Morishita showed Doug and me pictures of him and other monks building peace pagodas. The pagoda in India was built on top of a mountain, and the monks carried the building materials to the site on their backs. The pagoda in England, finished in 1980, won an award for architectural design. Some were taking short walks and stopping to sketch flowers. Carole and Mercury found a spot in an open field which would be perfect for a fire later in the evening and went into the woods to collect firewood. Jean and a few neighbors fixed supper for us. _ After the night's events, Molly Brown's First International Going-Away Party around the campfire, with stories of bears we had met, then of bear paws and bird nests Morishita had eaten, most of us returned to the house to sleep. Bill, now our group leader again, was on the telephone at Jean's house till 11 o'clock making arrangements for us to spend tomorrow night indoors. Carole and Mercury slept in the field near the fire. In the morning Carole told me how she had reached over to pick up a stick from the wood pile and seen a large snake shoot across the field. She said she did not sleep well last night._ May 4, Dobson to Ladysmith_ It was the anniversary of the Kent State killings, an event new to the non-Americans when we talked about it at lunch._ Today was the first time I experienced a twisted sense of reality, bordering on psychosis. I was walking at the rear watching people stare at us from their cars and front porches. And there was no doubt in my mind. We were only a carnival act walking into town to awaken people for a brief minute from their boring everyday routine. Yes, we were a carnival. "Come see the rest of our show at our program tonight. We have Buddhist monks, we have hippies, we have feminists, we have pacifists, we have slides of Hiroshima bombing! Admission is free." Perhaps I still had a fever. After a drink of water we were the World Peace March again, and remained so to Ladysmith._ Virginia Electric Power Company (VEPCO) operates a nuclear power plant nearby at North Anna. The people at Twin Oaks had asked us to go by the plant to hold a prayer vigil. We were happy to oblige._ It was 4:45 when we reached the VEPCO plant; the visitor center would close at 5:00. Bill, being group leader, walked into the visitor's center to ask permission to pray for peace outside the center's office. Bill has clean-cut looks; I imagine the receptionist thought we were a pro-nuclear power fundamentalist prayer group -- she gave the permission readily and cheerfully. But you could see her face change as we walked outside the center and lined up facing the nuclear reactors. After our fifteen-minute prayer vigil the center was locked, the woman gone home._ As we were entering the van to leave, Morishita said, "Finally we get to pray for peace in peace," but two police cars pulled up behind us before we left the parking lot. Company cars followed us even when we left VEPCO property to make the half-hour drive to Twin Oaks.
page 40 May 5, Muniral(Mineral?) to Post Oaks(Post Oak?)_ In the morning we were driven twenty miles from Twin Oaks to walk seventeen miles on a major road, a road not on our original route. I'm still sick. I had to keep jumping up to go to the toilet last night due to diarrhoea, leaving me weak and dehydrated for today's walk._ Late last night two people drove up from Athens, GA, to join us. Michael, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, had heard us speak at the university in February. Jimmy had been managing some apartments that his parents owned in Athens. He was Chinese, with long hair reaching more than half way down his back. He seldom spoke, and when he did his voice was soft; he was interested in religious philosophy. I think one reason he joined the walk was to discuss religion with the monks; however, they weren't interested in debating fine points of Buddhism._ Michael too had long hair, not so long as Jimmy's, and a full beard. He was more talkative and had a louder voice. He wanted to talk about politics. Many of us had gone through political and religious debates several states ago and were too tired to resurrect any active interest in either now. So we listened to Jimmy and Michael debate, as we walked along._ Mary had gotten the flu last night and couldn't walk but could drive the support car. She was to catch up around midmorning with water for our break, but she got lost until l:00 p.m._ We eventually stopped at l2:30, our first break, weak from lack of water, resolved to wait until Mary arrived. The two new walkers had lots of energy left and kept debating vociferously._ The area was full of ticks and I went into the woods, stripped, and checked my body again for ticks. Then I checked each piece of clothing before getting dressed again. Almost everyone else did the same thing there._ Though the plan was to walk 17 miles, some of us got together secretly during afternoon rest break and decided to cut a few miles off, at the cost of that many more miles the next day: several of us were sick and lots of us were tired from the waterless morning. We asked Mary to tell Morishita that we had already walked l5 miles though it was actually 13. Morishita didn't believe the number and said the car odometer must be wrong. He considered the total hours we had walked and said it couldn't be l5 miles but more like l3. We exchanged dismayed, disbelieving looks: you cannot fool a Nipponzan Myohoji monk in such matters. We walked four more miles._ We returned to Twin Oaks for a second night. We had extensive tours of this very successful commune, whose founders were inspired by B.F. Skinner's imaginary commune in his book, "Walden Two". It would take more space than my publishers can afford to describe our tour -- what we learned and far more is already in print, for example in Judson Jerome's and Katherine Kincade's books. But you won't find the following tiny incident there._ A large dog joined us at the Twin Oaks dairy. He walked up to people and dropped a stick at their feet, but if they reached down to pick it up, he would grab it first and retreat few steps. Then he'd be back to drop the stick again; no matter how we tried, he would grab it quicker, evidently a veteran in playing this game. I say "we" but I, remembering another dog, let this dog alone and left the dairy. Behind me, I soon heard the dog barking angrily. I looked back; Nagase was playing with the dog. I saw the stick dropped by the dog; I saw Nagase turn his head away as if not interested; then I saw a blur and there was Nagase standing up again with the stick in his hand. He then dropped the stick in front of the dog and the sequence repeated itself; the dog could not get the stick if he waited for Nagase's move._ Later in the evening I dropped in on a going-away party for a member named Chip. People came and went, often playing music. At one point almost everyone was playing some type of instrument. People exchanged instruments both hand-to-hand and by leaving them behind for new entrants to pick up, so the music changed constantly, though a song might last as long as twenty minutes._ At Twin Oaks, I met people who were most aware of the world outside and I saw at least one who appeared a permanent meditator, perhaps burned-out by the outside world and on an extended retreat._ May 6, Post Oaks to Fredericksburg_ We were to walk 17 miles and would be in DC in less than a week. Once there, I knew that the character of the New Orleans march would be lost as many new people would join at once. Besides such thoughts, the morning offered nothing of significance until at lunchtime a car pulled up, driven by an elderly man. He asked us a few questions then said we were on his property. After an exchange or two he consented to our staying to finish lunch. A few of us complimented him on his beautiful lawn, explaining we had originally mistaken it for a park. His voice changed as he told us his wife had done all the landscaping. She had died a few months ago. He invited us to walk through the yard, saying it would make his wife happy. Two of us did._ Within minutes another car pulled up, and a much younger man got out to talk with us. He said he was the neighbor of the first man and pointed out his house. He said the first man had called him, asking him to come talk with us because he had changed his mind and now wanted us to leave. Someone had recently broken into the old man's house and had stolen some of his wife's things. We packed our food boxes back into the car and prepared to leave._ Now another neighbor approached from across the road. He had been mowing his yard all this time. He couldn't have heard what was going on but he must have guessed. Asking whether we accepted donations, he gave us $20. He didn't stay to talk but quickly returned to his mowing._ That night in Fredericksburg, Bill and I stayed with Virginia and Clyde Carter. Virginia was a graduate of East Carolina University where I had attended graduate school. And it was a memorable evening for Clyde: that night he was giving his final final exam, after 39 years as a professor of religion at Mary Washington College._ Bill, Virginia, and I spent most of the evening watching TV. PBS was showing the program, "Thinking Twice About Nuclear War", part of which was about an "average middle class" family which had never really thought much about what nuclear war was like. They were exposed to books and films about nuclear weapons; the program followed the evolution of their thinking, leading to their active opposition to nuclear weapons. They were a real family, the Strassburgs, who had hosted two of the walkers during our stay in Richmond._ May 7, Fredericksburg to Stafford_ Though we had only ten miles to walk today, we assembled early at the starting point. It was a beautiful morning, the cherry trees around MWC in full bloom._ I met Kajo as he left the basement of the Center. He was not smiling, unusual for him. We greeted one another and I told him I had seen him on TV last night. (The PBS film included a short clip on the Stockholm-to-Paris peace walk.) His only comment was, "Stockholm-to-Paris Peace March was very famous and very important. Not like this peace march." I hurriedly agreed with him and went downstairs to pick up my luggage. I realized only later that Kajo was trying to tell me goodbye. But I had been too busy to stand still for a few minutes to talk._ He was on his way to catch a bus to DC. He had left a note for Morishita, explaining that he was leaving the walk for a few days. He was going to their temple in DC, to fast and pray. After reading the note, no one knew whether Kajo would continue with the walk past DC. This was unclear for two reasons. We did not know whether he would want to continue, and we also did not know whether the other monks would allow him to rejoin._ Last night Morishita decided we had time to go to Fort Hill for a prayer vigil. Fort Hill was twenty miles from Fredericksburg so we would have to be driven -- transportation was still being arranged by the Richmond Peace Education Center. Our driver arrived in an old borrowed VW van. The battery was dead so we had to push to get the motor restarted. We sang songs as we rode to the army base. We set up the prayer vigil in front of the main entrance as usual. Again as usual it wasn't long before there were a dozen MPs grouped near us. They were wondering who we were, what we were doing, and, more importantly, what they should do. Bill went up to talk with them and try to stall them for minutes. By the time the monks had finished their prayer, the MPs were getting a bit nervous. During this time, Fredericka had been standing by the gate handing out literature to motorists entering or leaving. The vigil over, we got into the van, forgetting the dead battery. Then we piled out and began pushing the van toward the gate and the assembled MPs. The motor started just before we reached the gate. The back of the van was plastered with political bumper stickers with slogans like, "I know Watt's wrong." This incident with the van had to reinforce the MPs' image of us as a bunch of crazy hippies._ We actually started walking toward the middle of the morning. Kajo's absence was heavy on us. Sakamaki was visibly saddened._ At lunch we were joined by two people from the Washington Peace Center, Till and Christiana, from Germany. They were going to walk with us today and as many more days as possible until we got to DC. In the afternoon children in a passing bus chanted, "World Peace! World Peace!"_ Arriving early in the afternoon in Stafford, we had activities all the rest of the day, more or less unplanned. Carole and Mercury decided we should have a healing circle for Kajo. We spread some blankets under a tree in the back yard of the small Lutheran church where we were to stay. All the walkers participated in the healing circle._ First, of course, we sat in a circle. Carole explained what we were to do next. Each of us was to picture Kajo's face in our minds. After a while we were to picture his wounds and his sadness. Finally we were to send our love out to him and picture him well again. This ritual was new to me and to most of the others, especially the Japanese._ Everything went well until Fredericka decided to lead us in a "laughing meditation". We were to chant alternately "Hee Hee" and "Ho Ho". After a half-minute of this the healing circle was dead. The laughing meditation went over as well as her Hare Krishna dance of a few days ago._ We stayed seated under the tree, and now our activity changed from healing and laughing to a going-away party for Molly. She was to catch a bus in the morning to return to her home in Connecticut. She had wanted to remain with us at least until we got to DC, but had obligations at home and had stayed with us until the last possible minute._ That going-away party was festive, with plenty of watermelons, ice cream, and cookies. We ate well since we thought this was going to be our supper, and talked of things that had happened with us for the past month while Molly had been with us._ Jerry, the minister of the church, appeared for the first time. He was a young man. It was obvious that he was very busy, yet his manner was easy-going. He hadn't been minister there long._ He told us that one of his church members had called him that afternoon to express her opposition to our sleeping in the church tonight. She had talked with her cousin in Chester, S.C., who had reported seeing us along the road there, walking. It reminded her of the sixties, and she didn't like it. The minister ignored the woman's complaints. Later in the evening we got to meet some more of the church members, who were not untypical of the caller._ Jerry extended us an invitation to eat supper with him at a kind of church gathering. The church was rather new and the event would help the members get better acquainted. Bill, Doug, and I went with Jerry to get the sandwiches; on the fifteen-minute drive, my mind was on a 7-page letter from Pamela I had just read and was asked to share with Bill and am soon to share with readers of this account._ Although there wasn't much distance in time betwen the walkers at the church and the church members at the supper, there was a tremendous distance in lifestyles. The house was in a definitely upper-middle class neighborhood. Jerry had to show ID at a guard house before being allowed to enter the neighborhood. It was too dark to see much of what the houses looked like, except that they were big. The four of us walked into the crowd of about forty._ A few were grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, but the first sandwich was yet to be made. There was lots of beer and wine. Many people seemed well on their way to becoming drunk. Jerry talked with a few. An invitation was extended for the other walkers to return for supper, as it would be a long time before food would be ready for us to take back to the church._ A half hour later, and after I had taken care to warn the new walkers about our rule against alcohol, half of us were at the party. Now I got a better idea of the wealth inside the house. Large amounts of jewelry were on display in the living room. (Later that night, when Morishita heard me telling the absentees about the party, he was surprised to find out he had been in a person's house -- he had thought it was a jewelry store.) There were a few guns on the wall, and a plaque about the virtues of service to one's fellow man._ We learned that the owner of the house was a Secret Service agent. We met a weapons expert in the defense department who was angry at our presence. He said that if he wanted to see a peace demonstration he could just look out his Pentagon window. He certainly didn't want to see one at a party. We had forgotten how close to Washington we were. The Secret Service agent and the Pentagon employee tried to debate us, but most of the people ignored us; only three or four had come knowing we would be there. Once we heard someone shout, "My God! Nail down the shingles, they're eating everything in sight!" Bill said that we were now in the heart of the monster; it was an unusual church social, anyway._ Back in the church I gave Pamela's letter to Bill. She was disturbed by growing rebelliousness from Carole and Mercury and somewhat from Sandy and Mary. She said that the monks on the Los Angeles route had heard about us and were upset and that their senior monk Yoshida would expel rebels and problem-makers from the joint walk beyond DC._
page 41May 8, Stafford to Dumfries_ A short walk, only eleven miles, on a day most memorable for Molly's emotional departure. We all spent time saying our personal goodbyes after waking up. And after our prayer circle. this time we didn't start walking for a while. Sandy, Mary, Carole, and Mercury were hugging Molly and tears were flowing. She said she'd try to come back in a few weeks but we never saw her again._ Soon after our first break we came to the main gate of the Quantico Marine Base. A county policeman came for the start of our planned vigil and stayed with us the rest of the day, saying he would prevent our being harassed by passing motorists. At the gate, we set up the vigil in front of the statue of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. MPs arrived but kept their distance, probably because of the police car's presence. There were no incidents; we finished walking two hours later and were driven to Dale City, the men to a house and the women to a motel. Our hosting Catholic sisters were taking no chances with our morals._ With a free afternoon, I went walking to buy some shoes since the used running shoes given me in Richmond didn't fit and were causing blisters. I turned left on the main highway, walked a mile or so without seeing the "nearby" store. Finally meeting a jogger, I found I should have turned right. A small mistake when driving a car but a stupid mistake for a walker meaning extra miles for me on my free afternoon._ The only shoes for sale at the discount store were a cheap pair of $l4 running shoes. But they fit, I couldn't know when my next chance would come, and I bought them. Other walkers noticed my new shoes the next day and said they had worn shoes like them once. The first time they got wet they fell apart. Mine heldtogether and I wore them into New York City._ May 9, Dumfries to Woodbridge_ The 9th was like the 8th in one respect alone; it was 11 miles. It was windy, and we were joined by a half dozen people from Dale City. One couple had been on a group walk before._ It was 14 years ago, a United Farm Workers walk across Texas. We agreed that the South had changed since then. There had been violence directed against the UFW walkers with beatings and some walkers even shot._ With guest walkers and a short distance, we took a long break and walked slowly. Still we arrived at the Church of the Brethren at l:00 o'clock, earlier than expected by several hours. We used the time._ For all needed to discuss my letter from Pamela. As noted above, when our walk merged with the L.A. walk, the strict Yoshida would be in charge. The walk would take on a more Buddhist character; all L.A. walkers were required to go to evening prayers; disruptive behavior would not be tolerated._ We took turns expressing our feelings and thoughts. Only Bill, Doug, and I believed the content of the letter. Some said that the New Orleans walkers would dominate the character of the merged walk. Sandy and Mercury made up a silly little song about the death of the dragon (Yoshida)._ This meeting of the non-Japanese accomplished nothing. It made matters worse by beginning a division between Bill, Doug, and me versus Carole, Mercury, Sandy, and Mary. The monks were aware that we had had a meeting but asked no questions._ That night Bill, Till, Doug, and I were to stay with an elderly couple. Each was nearly 85, but their age was evident only in their profound hearing loss. For supper, they took us out to a restaurant where everyone was nicely dressed. But I didn't feel out of place because my feelings were taken up with the pleasure of observing our hosts, still much in love after some sixty years of marriage, as evidenced by their care for each other's every need, in word and action._ Back in their house, we were looking through family albums with them when their 65-year-old son arrived. He was the chairperson for the Brethren's Peace and Justice committee in Virginia and, totally supportive of our walk, had come to meet us. Before bedtime, they insisted on serving us apple pie a la mode._ In talking, one of our hosts would sometimes repeat an earlier question. The other partner would notice and apologize with embarrassment: "You see, when you get our age your memory is not too good and you forget things."_ I thought I would easily remember the couple's names so didn't bother to write them in my notes. Regrettably,..._ May l0, Woodbridge to Alexandria_ We walked 16 miles. Most of us seem lost in their own thoughts. It was the last full day of the New Orleans walk. We had gotten to know each other well over several months. We knew this closeness would change tomorrow. The walk had been hard but had many warm, light-hearted moments; now we worried, separately._ We held our last vigil at Fort Belvoir. That guard was by far the least confrontive of any at a base where we vigilled. We told this young MP the purpose of our visit. He said simply, "You can't do that," but made no effort to stop us or call other MPs._ I remember little about the day except that traffic was very heavy. We were being hosted by Mt. Vernon Methodist Church in Alexandria. As we turned onto the street toward the church we could see the Capitol building in the distance._ Before supper, Morishita called a meeting to "discuss the DC schedule." But little was known about that schedule; in fact, all we knew about tomorrow was that we were to meet the L.A. walk at noon at the Pentagon. The next three days we would fast in front of the White House, but we knew no details (would we stay all night in front of the White House?) Morishita said he would be glad to give his senior position over to Yoshida: the walk would be more disciplined, more Buddhist. This was proper -- the walk had been started by Buddhist monks and nuns in Tokyo three years ago; now it would end with the same character as it had begun. Most of us agreed. But there were a few disgruntled voices._ Morishita then brought the meeting to its logical end. He expressed his appreciation to each of us, by name, for what we had brought to the walk, ending his remarks with a big smile (one of his many contributions), a bow, and a "Thank you very much." After that, we each took a turn expressing thanks to one another for the unique gifts each had brought. It was as if we were saying goodbye._ At our evening program there were a dozen church members present. For the walkers, its highlight was that Kurimori could give a speech he had, as we all knew, prepared many days ago on Sandy's encouragement and rehearsed over and over in the woods alone and in his room. Twice before he had been ready and hadn't been called on. He did not speak English well and had gotten as much advice on pronunciation as he could. And now the speech lasted only four or five minutes. But we were impressed; we had underestimated Kurimori's abilities._ He had drawn from his personal experiences of the horror of nuclear weapons. He had quotes from Jefferson, Jesus, and Buddha. His pronunciation was almost perfect. When he finished, the walkers gave him a standing ovation. He should have been speaking at our programs all along. Tonight we had gotten to see the real depth of Kurimori. His film and diary had been destroyed by water that afternoon. He and I were the only diarists on our walk._ Afterward I read a newspaper account of the disarmament speech that Reagan gave yesterday. It was his Mother's Day gift. I wondered what questions reporters could ask us about the spsech and what my responses would be. After a while I went to sleep without anxiety for the next day. Like Morishita, I was relieved by the thought of anonymity and was tired of speaking at programs and talking with reporters._
page 42May ll, Alexandria to Washington, DC_ It was nine miles to the Pentagon. We hoped to arrive exactly at noon._ We held hands to form our morning prayer circle, then sang several songs ending with the Buddhist prayer for peace. Those with cameras took one last group portrait. We were happy that on this morning no local person joined the walk._ We held hands in prayer circles during each of two long rest breaks, with little conversation. About a mile south of the Pentagon we were escorted by mounted policemen, bringing back memories of peace demonstrations over a decade ago. I was happy in the thought that my ideals had not changed since youth, that my commitment to them had not changed either. We walked even more slowly, being a little early. We crossed a small hill and there was the Pentagon ahead. It was two minutes til noon, so we stopped and stood in line awaiting the Los Angeles walk while beating the drums and chanting. At noon exactly, they arrived._ I can't easily describe the elation, the great joy we all felt on seeing each other. Here came almost our mirror image walking up the hill. Two people carried the banner, "World Peace March l982, Los Angeles to New York, `Time Has Come', Set the Dates for Nuclear Disarmament." Behind this banner another walker carried the Buddhist prayer banner. Then came the four Buddhist monks and the single Buddhist nun. Behind them walked the others, forty or so in double file. They didn't look tired, but healthy and tanned._ As they got near, we rushed to greet them. People were hugging each other everywhere. Greetings were enthusiastic but short. First we must walk to the Pentagon, then vigil, then talk._ The L.A. walkers led the way of this now-single march, made of two great peace walks which had crossed thousands of miles and joined exactly as had been planned._ There were less than a half-dozen local people at the Pentagon to join with us, but we were feeling too high to be affected by the number. That evening, one of the monks asked me, "Aren't there any peace groups in Washington, DC?" Of course there are many._ We lined in front of a main entrance and began the prayer vigil. I sincerely believe that, though the numbers were small, this was one of the most powerful demonstrations ever held at the Pentagon. I have never felt such intense energy generated by any other group of people. Our prayer for peace was loud and earnest. We knew that our prayer was being heard not only by the Pentagon employees but also by God._ After the vigil, in a nearby empty parking lot, we stood in a silent circle. No directions were given, but we all knew what to do. Yoshida stood inside, speaking in Japanese in a firm and accusatory voice, not like Morishita's slow and soft speech, not smiling and happy like Morishita. Yoshida did not smile and spoke with anger. Both men were excellent speakers, but Yoshida did not speak English. _ His interpreter, Tetsul, was not a monk, although his head was shaved. His wife and two young children had been on the walk since Los Angeles. As an interpreter, Tetsul was said to get the words accurately, but he did not try to speak with the same emotion that Yoshida did. When Yoshida pointed to the Pentagon and named it with the fire and anger of an Old Testament prophet, Tetsul's "Castle of Evil" was spoken in a flat, almost emotionless voice._ After the speech, Yoshida was presented with a wreath of flowers from the DC-based Hiroshima/Nagasaki Committee. We were about to end the circle when Mercury suggested, in a loud voice, that we now sing a song. The L.A. walkers looked a little confused, but everyone joined in the song. The confrontation between Mercury and the leadership of the L.A. had begun._ When the circle broke up, the press wandered among us for interviews. I was interviewed by a TV crew from the Federal Republic of Germany. They asked me questions about Reagan's disarmament speech, which I had anticipated._ Now we were to have a short lunch break. It was a lunch break in name only, as there was very little food. The L.A. walkers had some boiled eggs and celery sticks which they shared with us. There was also very little water. This showed that we should not expect to rely on local supporters to provide us with all our food. It would be too much of a drain on local resources to provide three meals for so many people._ We used the lunch break to talk with some of the L.A. walkers. We told them of our concern for their safety as they crossed the Rockies in the winter. We had heard that the wind chill factor had been as low as forty below zero. They told of their concern for us as we walked through conservative areas of the South. They had been especially concerned about the threat from the Klan. Each of us minimized our own hardships. We did not have much time to talk before it was time to resume the walk._ I was impressed with the discipline and orderliness of the L.A. walk. A person would bow slightly to the person whom he/she had stepped in front of to get in line. We imitated the L.A. walk by also walking in double line. The miles went by quickly, and soon we were at the Mall, approaching the Capitol._ Hundreds of people were sunning themselves around the reflecting pool. We drew everyone's attention and some people ran up to talk with us._ At the Capital building we held another powerful prayer vigil. Almost immediately, the Capitol balconies were full of Congressional employees who had come out to see what was happening. The people remained until the vigil was over. They may not have known who we were, but I believe they had some understanding of the chant. The intensity of the prayer equalled that at the Pentagon._ Now my thoughts went to another historical event. Here we were, gathered to plead fervently for peace before one of the seats of government. The people of Paris gathered before the palace during the French Revolution to plead for food. I believe that we too were part of a revolution, a peaceful revolution occurring around the world, demanding an end to war and the restructuring of priorities for a more just world._ It was a great feeling to have the L.A. walkers with us. There were forty additional prayer drums and people chanting. The echo of the drum beat bounced from the buildings in Washington. Our presence was felt long before we arrived and long after we left. This was true even in the city traffic._ We had to walk five more miles through ghetto areas to St. Stephen's Church. Along the parade route we saw many posters announcing the peace walk --on light poles, city garbage cans, and the sides of buildings. We walked on crowded sidewalks, but were still able to maintain the order and discipline of the walk._ During supper the different walkers got to know each other better. It was also an indication of how the walk would be different. The room was filled with people, all speaking hushed voices. The Buddhist monks and nuns were sitting by themselves with the other Orientals sitting near them._ A respectable time after he had finished eating, Mercury took out a harmonica and began to play softly. A woman from the L.A. walk immediately came up to him and spoke sternly in German. She had admonished him for playing before the monks had said grace. We had never said grace after a meal, nor had we ever waited for the monks to dismiss us after meals._ Another incident after supper showed how the mood of the walk would change. Sandy perched on the edge of a table while she chatted. A monk scolded her for not showing proper respect for the table. I could not imagine Morishita's doing such a thing. Later Sandy told Mercury and Carole that she felt as if she had entered the twilight zone. So much for the "death of the dragon." This was even more than Doug, Bill, or I had anticipated. The dominance of Yoshida and the other monks of the L.A. walk seemed total._ After supper, we walked a short distance to the Calvary United Methodist Church where we were to have a program and spend the night. But after the program Morishita asked me to represent the New Orleans walkers as group leader at a meeting tonight. It was my week to be group leader anyway, but Morishita wanted me to continue in that role for the rest of the walk. He said it would be too confusing for Yoshida to deal with different people. _ It was an L.A. type meeting. Yoshida was sitting cross-legged, with his eyes almost closed. He appeared to be detached, but it was obvious that he knew almost everything that was going on around him. In my mind, he was the stereotypical Buddhist monk. Tetsul sat beside him with three other monks. The sole nun present massaged Yoshida's shoulders. Later she served us tea. Two people from DC attended to discuss the local agenda. Finally there were Mary Jane, the L.A. walk representative, and I._ First we talked about supporting the Vietnam Veterans Against the War which was now in the city to draw attention to the effects of Agent Orange. Yoshida had decided that the prayer fast at Lafayette Park would end each day at 7 o'clock. The VVAW would arrive at the Park at 7 o'clock. It was suggested that we stay to welcome them to the park. Yoshida opposed the suggestion. When I again argued that we remain until the group arrived, Tetsul would not even translate my words. If anyone spoke in English against an opinion of Yoshida, Tetsul would not translate._ The next topic was the prayer fast. It would not be compulsory, but no food would be provided. Yoshida had decided the format: all walkers encouraged to remain at the site of the prayer fast; presence maintained for three days from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.; cabbage soup at the temple at the end of the second day but no food on the third. There were discussions about the fast, but nothing was translated into English. It was apparent that Tetsul was doing what Yoshida wanted._ This was the last such meeting that I attended. I doubt that my absence was felt. We were told to communicate back to our respective members, but no input was allowed. The decisions had already been made._ I returned to talk with some of the people of the New Orleans walk. There were many good people on the L.A. walk, but we were angered -- the character of our walk had changed. _
page 43May 12, First day of the prayer fast in front of the White House_ Everyone, except for a few of the L.A. group, had agreed to attempt the three-day fast. We woke up at 5:30. Again we realized how much different things were going to be. Everyone got out of their sleeping bags and started to get dressed without a single word being even whispered. We took our cues from the L.A. walkers. The monks sat silently before their altar. The rest of us sat cross-legged behind the monks. Once a person had taken a position he/she would immediately place his/her open hands over the face and bow, by touching the head to the floor, three times. Everyone chanted for about thirty minutes. Then the monks chanted the Lotus Sutra in Japanese, joined by some of the L.A walkers. The prayer ended with bows to the altar again._ When the prayer was over, everyone could speak. Many people were saying good morning to each other while others were rushing to line up for the toilet. This was the early morning procedure we would follow until the end of the walk._ Some of the L.A. walkers had been converted to Buddhism during the walk. They had become dogmatic in enforcing the rituals. Bill said that he had been awakened during the night by a woman from the L.A. walk. She told him that sleeping with his feet toward the monks' altar showed disrespect and that he should turn around. Shortly before we got to New York City, Doug told me that he would be glad to get away from the western Buddhists. Someone had picked up the apple core he had just thrown away to see whether the proper amount of fruit had been eaten. A few of the converts were almost unbearable and we avoided them as best we could._ Today, however, the New Orleans walkers were caught up in trying to figure everything out. We were also preoccupied with the prayer fast. The monks set up the altar at the edge of the park, facing the White House. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki photo panels were displayed along the sidewalk. Everyone sat cross-legged on the ground facing the altar and began chanting. The monks sat in this position during the entire 11-hour vigil, getting up only occasionally to go to the toilet. They did not even drink water during the fast._ None of the rest of us could even come close to this feat of endurance. I would sit for a couple of hours. Then I would have to get up to stretch the muscles in my legs and back. Occasionally I would stretch out flat on the ground in the warm sun and even sleep for a few minutes. Others were doing the same. Then after about half an hour, I would resume my position at the vigil again. I did not get hungry, although my stomach growled a lot. The major discomfort was a headache. I was also very drowsy._ We were disappointed that only three people came out to join us. Two were men who slept in front of the White House as a constant witness to the plight of the homeless. They were cynical about getting the American people to approve disarmament, and the lack of support here was confirmation. But our spirits were lifted when Kajo arrived around noon. He wore a new pair of black wing-tipped shoes, a pair of Playboy sun glasses, and a big smile. The New Orleans walkers smiled back and waved. We could not greet each other in any other manner until after the vigil._ At seven o'clock we ended the vigil and left the park before the VVAW arrived. Almost all the monks, the Japanese, and a few others went to the Nipponzan Myohoji temple. Kajo showed his rebelliousness by being the only monk to join us at the Methodist Church, where he was given a more proper welcome back to the walk. Kajo seemed much more relaxed and happy than before he left. He had resolved whatever had been bothering him, and clearly not by retreating into dogmatic Buddhist rituals. In the weeks ahead the split between Kajo and the other monks would be almost complete. This evening I heard about an incident at the temple last night. A young Bolivian who spoke no English had arrived yesterday to join the walk. He was spending the night at the Buddhist temple, which was crowded, but he had managed to find a secluded spot. During the night he was awakened by a half dozen very angry monks and nuns, all of them lecturing him at the same time in Japanese, another language he could not understand. He never understood what he had done that was so wrong (he had slept in the room reserved for Fuji) but left the next morning and did not join the walk.The story was funny,but at the same time sad._ May 13, Second day of the prayer fast in front of the White House_ The vigil began again at seven o'clock, but we did not have to get up so early because there were no morning prayers. Kajo was the only Buddhist with us last night, and he went to a separate room to pray. Morishita met me as we left the church and told me that he wanted me to go to a Senate hearing on the nuclear freeze. Two people from the L.A. walk would also go. He asked that I not talk with anyone else about it, as others might want to go and the monks wanted all the rest to remain at the vigil. _ Shortly before 9 o'clock, Tetsul came to tell me that the guide was here and to tell me to go to the monks and bow to them before leaving to let them know I was going and to show respect. I did not appreciate this dictation. I went to the front of the vigil and waved goodbye instead._ The four of us were only a block from the park when Mary came running up. The emotion of the confrontation between Mary and Toby, the guide, surprised me and the other two walkers. Toby insisted that no other people come with her. Mary equally insisted on her taxpayer's right to attend a Senate hearing._ I remembered that Morishita had said that only three walkers were to go to the hearing. I also remembered Pamela's warning that we should cooperate more with our local supporters. In the past we had angered some with petty bickering. In addition, I was angry with Mary for provoking this incident. This is in defense of my failure to support Mary, though I am still uncomfortable with it._ Finally Toby said that Mary was not dressed properly to attend the hearing. Of course, by this standard none of us should have attended. My blue jeans even had holes in both knees. Toby's next statement was even more difficult to explain. She said that the Senate had just finished hearings on mental illness. If Mary attended the hearings dressed as she was it would not help our cause. Mary screamed back, "You're the one who's crazy!" It ended with Toby turning and walking away. The three of us followed, leaving Mary standing by herself._ We made our way to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee room, where a hearing on the Kennedy-Hatfield amendment was already in progress. We heard witnesses in favor of the freeze amendment in the morning and W. W. Rostow, then head of the Arms Control Talks (ACDA?) and formerly head of the Committee on the Present Danger, a private agency opposed to arms control._ My impulse was to stand up and disrupt the answers. They were obvious lies. He had no interest in disarmament. But I was not sure that I could continue with the walk if I were arrested. Now, more than anything else, I wanted to finish the walk._ After the hearings we returned to the vigil, checking in at the front before taking our places at the back. Almost immediately Mary came and sat beside me. She said she was upset with me for not supporting her in the morning and for going along with the monks on too many issues. I tried to explain my reasons to her. As we talked, our differences were brought into sharper focus. Our approach to the peace walk was now very different. I thought that we should not divide the walk in its final three weeks, but she thought it imperative that we attack flaws in the organization and its leadership. It was evident that reconciliation would not happen soon. _
page 44May 14, Third day of the prayer fast in front of the White House_ This was the last day of the prayer fast. I think that, technically, last night was the end of the fast. But no one ate today until we had soup for supper at the Buddhist Temple._ The vigil drew a lot of attention today, especially from tourist groups. Lots of foreign press were present. I did an interview with a Tokyo radio station. Around noon, the park was filled with people eating their lunches._ This was Friday. Sunday would be a rest day. Doug called a friend from Chapel Hill, Pat Grady, who now lives in DC. We arranged to visit with Pat and Sue on Sunday. Doug also made arrangements to work with Bill Sunday morning at the Community for Creative Non-Violence, helping cut up vegetables for the noon meal at the soup kitchen._ It felt good now to be able to look beyond the fast. Fasting heightened my senses but also left me weak._ We were annoyed that the DC press had completely ignored our arrival. Worse, the Washington Post had grossly misrepresented our prayer vigil. Only a small reference was made about our presence at the White House -- in an article about Nancy Reagan, who had planted a tree in front of the White House yesterday. The article said she could attend the ceremony only briefly because the Secret Service thought she might be threatened by a "noisy group of demonstrators". The press asked who we were, and the White House staff press spokesperson told them we were a "bunch of dancing Hare Krishnas". I'm sure the White House police knew who we were; it would have been very simple as well for the Post reporter to have come to us to see who we were._ The New York Times picked up the story and ran it the next day. The Times reported also that Reagan's tree planting was disrupted by a "bunch of dancing Hare Krishnas". One would think that you could expect more accurate reports from two such prestigious newspapers._ The day's vigil went by quickly and smoothly. We had heard that nearby government office workers were complaining to park police about the constant drum beat. We were more than happy to have disrupted their work routine and reminded them that people were very concerned about the presence of nuclear weapons._ At seven o'clock, we ended our vigil for the third and final time. This time we were all driven to the Nipponzan Myohoji temple. This was my first visit._ From the outside it looked like a modest brick house except that in the front yard was a gigantic slab of granite as tall as the building. In the granite was carved, in Japanese, the Buddhist prayer for peace._ We took off our shoes as we entered the temple. More than sixty pairs of running shoes were left on the front porch. We chanted "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo" three times before entering. We also chanted this before entering each of the two small front rooms and finally the worship area itself._ Then we were before the altar and immediately began the prayer and the Lotus Sutra. I had been looking forward to visiting their temple but was not at all prepared for what I saw. It was like a scene from the movie "Shangri-la". The altar covered the entire front of the room and was ornate and overpowering. Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo was written in large gold letters at the top. The large Buddha statue was surrounded by gold ornaments, fresh fruit, and fresh flowers._ Two small elderly nuns were standing on each side of the altar, each beating a very large drum with a stick in each hand. The sticks were heavy but somehow they kept striking the drumheads regularly. We beat our hand drums._ After half an hour, this prayer was over and Yoshida talked with us a few minutes. He said that now we had finished a three-day prayer fast in front of the White House and there was no obvious immediate result. But "we have chanted Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo in front of the White House for three days. Many seeds for peace have been planted. We must wait for them to grow." The Buddhists really did believe that simply chanting the prayer was itself a powerful act._ Then small tables were brought into the room. The Japanese served the rest of us. We had bowls of soup. It was delicious and there was plenty. Many of us stayed at the temple only a short time after the meal._ I had not had a chance to talk with Morishita at any length since arriving in DC. We talked at last for a few minutes that night; he was very interested to hear about yesterday's Senate hearing. He did not know anything about our schedule beyond DC. Tomorrow we would have a program in Lafayette Park, then a five-mile walk past embassies of coutries which have nuclear weapons. Sunday was still to be a rest day._ Doug tried to get through to Kurimori that Sunday would be a rest day. Finally, Kurimori's face broke into understanding, and he fell promptly to the floor, kicking his feet in the air and laughing uncontrollably. He kept repeating, "Rest day! Rest day!" Kurimori had worried about how he would hold up under the three-day prayer fast but had come through it quite as well as the rest of us, as far as I could see._ More than half the walkers returned to the Methodist Church, among them Kajo, telling me he had "escaped" for the second time in three days. He and I talked some about the Nipponzan Myohoji temple. He spoke of it with much pride._ Then he told me about a Cherokee Indian who had come to DC to protest the construction of the temple, saying the temple was being built on Cherokee burial ground and staying to talk with the monks for a few days. Kajo said that the man left the site chanting Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo._ This evening I thought of Patrick O'Neill, a good friend from Greenville, NC, because today he was to have two trials for civil disobedience. Earlier this spring he had been arrested for blocking traffic into Ft. Bragg, NC. On Good Friday he was arrested for pouring his own blood on the walls of the Pentagon. I later learned that both trials were postponed. His trial for CD at Ft. Bragg came up first and he received ninety days in a federal prison. He did not get an active sentence for the Pentagon arrest._ May l5, Walk through Washington, DC_ This was really the last day of our activities in Washington. So far we had gotten almost no support from local peace groups. Our local office had estimated that a large number of people would walk with us today and that about 250 would join us for the walk to New York City and the United Nations. After the miserable support of the last four days, we had no hopes of achieving such a large number of new walkers. This afternoon we were to hold a rally at Lafayette Park, then walk five miles past the embassies of nuclear weapons countries._ The people who stayed at the Methodist Church fixed lunch for today, since those at the temple had prepared supper last night. We were driven to the park and had lunch before the rally._ Several hundred people had come -- more than I had expected -- among them some that we had met earlier. Rose Mary O'Connor from Norfolk and Jim Trowbridge from Kiln, Miss. were there to walk with us. There were several speakers, but most didn't talk long, and the rally was mainly music, which I enjoyed: one folk group was memorable not so much because of the good music they played but because of who they were. The four musicians were from the Catholic Worker house in DC. Two members, Chris and Marsha, would walk with us to New York. Another CW resident, not part of the band, John, also joined us to the United Nations._ We began the walk after the rally, walking slowly. It took several hours for the five miles, though there wasn't a lot of traffic that Saturday. The march was long, with almost as many marchers with us as in Chapel Hill. We passed many embassies --the British, Soviet, French, and Chinese of course included. Many embassy employees came out to wave._ Tonight supper was prepared by the community of the Center for Creative Non-Violence, CCNV. They prepared the entire meal from food they had gathered from dumpsters at area grocery stores. CCNV fed hundreds of the city's homeless daily in this way. The supper was good._ After supper many walkers left to spend the night at the temple. Less than twenty remained at the church. We relaxed to "A Prairie Home Companion" on the radio. Yolando ("Yo") Jordan, a West German woman on the L.A. walk, took our pledge -- to leave a building cleaner than on arrival -- very seriously. It was not enough that the floors be swept. She took several hours to clean the floors on her hands and knees. She woke up a few people who had gone to sleep early in order to clean the area where they were sleeping. Yo had sold her house in order to raise money to join the peace walk. Yo did everything with an unbelievable amount of energy and a sense of urgency. As she scrubbed the floor, I had the impression she thought that if she missed a dirty spot, disamament would not be achieved._
page 45May l6, Rest day in DC_ We all needed this rest day. I felt like imitating Kurimori and kicking my heels in the air._ Doug and I were to meet Pat and Sue at Silver Springs, MD. Catching a bus for the short ride, we were met by Pat at the bus stop and driven to their house. The free afternoon with these good friends sure felt good. We had a cook-out in the back yard._ Pat is not just a marathon runner but a very good one. He runs every day but said he couldn't imagine what it would be like to walk fifteen miles a day for months. We spent the rest of the day talking about the good ole days and about the peace walk. I went to sleep in the church that night feeling refreshed._ May l7, Washington, DC to Lanham, Md._ After a few days of not walking it always felt good to set off again on foot and today was no exception, though it was very hot. We had 18 miles to cover, the L.A. walkers setting a faster pace than we had -- we were almost running. We walked fast even through the city._ Our police escort was with us all day. The escorting was excellent, but they upset us at one point by threatening to take a walker away. That was twelve-year-old Paul, to be with us for a week. His Quaker parents were not with him but had walked with the L.A. walk recently. When the police saw him not in school and without parents present, they were going to take him to the juvenile authorities. People circled the police cars to prevent this. Then a walker with a letter from his parents reached the scene. After reading the letter, which explained that Paul was to meet his grandparents in a few days, the police were satisfied._ We were well out of town at lunch, which was provided that day by the DC Catholic Worker. It would have been a big job to make sandwiches for the seventy-five of us -- and they had added watermelons!_ I talked with some of the Catholic Worker people. John and Chris were planning to walk a few days, but ended up continuing with us the whole three weeks. They had both recently gotten out of jail for civil disobedience. Bill told me that he and John were arrested at a press conference for President Duarte of El Salvador -- Bill had tried to disrupt it and John had crossed police lines. I talked too with Marsha. When she learned I was from North Carolina, she asked whether I knew Pat O'Neill. She had been arrested with him at the Good Friday demonstration at the Pentagon. I learned then from her that the trial had been postponed. In a few days, Marsha too would decide to stay with the walk until the end._ Two Lanham churches hosted us. The New Orleans walkers stayed at the Methodist, the Los Angeles walkers at the Catholic chuĀĎíďĒēĖó ≠ After our arrival, Morishita, Nagase, Kajo, and Sakamaki set up their altar. We were resting on the church grounds outside when Sakamaki ran out shouting, "Afternoon prayers! Please come!" It was more command than request. The last few days of prayers and rituals must have been a heady experience for Sakamaki, but none of us heeded his call. After a few minutes he gave up and walked back into the church, not trying to hide his anger. Young, he got angry easily, the only monk who did._ The New Orleans walkers held on to their own character by forming a circle and signing for supper's grace. In a few days Mercury would use the circle as a visible form of rebellion against Yoshida's strict discipline. The monks would respond by refusing to join hands in the circle._ After supper I called Tim McGloin to be sure I had a ride back to Durham from New York. Tim told me he had written Pamela a letter protesting Sam's expulsion in Richmond._ May l8, Lanham to Crofton_ Today should have been an easy day, since we had to walk only twelve miles. But it was hard, with a couple of bad incidents. Our hosts in Crofton, the Presbyterian Church, had requested that we not arrive until 4 o'clock. So we started late, 10 o'clock, and took long rest breaks._ The morning started on a very sour note. David, one of the L.A. walkers, kept to himself and didn't seem to have friends on the walk. He communicated with notes written on scraps of paper. Some of the L.A. walkers told me he had refused to talk as a personal protest against nuclear weapons. I couldn't understand the wisdom of this, in fact thought it foolish. But this morning he decided to end his silence in a big way._ Mary Jane was packing up the van with sleeping bags. Backpacks were to go into Bob's bus. David didn't like the arrangement and wanted his backpack also to go into the van. Mary Jane refused to accept it. David got angry, threw the backpack at her and, shouting obscenities, ran into the church. Upon entering the building he ran into the minister, who was carrying a cup of coffee -- and with such force that the minister spilled the hot coffee over himself. Not stopping to apologize, David continued running and raving._ Next David ran out of the church and said he was leaving the march. He got his pack and walked down the road. One of the L.A. walkers followed, hoping to talk with him. David turned and started swinging his fists, landing a couple of blows. The other walker did not try to hit back but left David to himself then._ We thought this would be the last we would see of poor David. Some of us went to the minister to smooth his understandably ruffled feathers but couldn't explain David's actions to ourselves, much less to the minister._ We finished packing the rest of our luggage, formed our prayer circle, then began to walk to the Catholic church to join the other walkers. They were waiting for us along the side of the road in front of the church. David was there, talking loudly to Tetsul and Yoshida. I had no doubt that Yoshida would tell David to leave the walk. David had hit another walker and had alienated the minister. I'm sure that Morishita and the other N.O. walkers would have told David to go. But Yoshida did not and there was no further debate about the incident._ Though not asked to leave us, David chose to walk on the opposite side of the road. He now wore a cow bell on his belt and resumed his vow of silence. He kept the logic of his actions to himself. Many people began referring to him as Tinker Bell. He allied himself with Mercury in rebellion against Yoshida's authority._ Then we began the day's walk, again at a fast pace which continued until the end of the walk._ In the afternoon, Ohms Le Sabre was hit in the leg by a bottle thrown from a passing car, getting badly bruised. Ohms was carrying the prayer banner at the time. In his forties, he was a strong personality among the L.A. walkers -- a native American and AIM member. This was his third transcontinental walk and he was in excellent condition, often proudly setting the pace as carrier of the prayer banner._ Ohms had started out with the San Francisco walk. After a few weeks, the weather proved too severe and he came south to join the L.A. walk; he had frostbite scars on his face from that first two weeks._ After many long rest breaks, we arrived at the Presbyterian church on schedule. Then at supper I saw an ugly side of the peace walk. Yoshida had imposed a strict social order, and the monks were first in line for food; there was hierarchy within their ranks too, according to how long each had been a monk, making Yoshida first and Sakamaki last. Then came the nun, followed by Tetsul, his wife, and two children. Next in line were the other Japanese, then Ohms (the only native American), then the Europeans, and finally the Americans._ The New Orleans walkers were outraged at such nationalism and chauvinism but we didn't do anything. Kajo however noticed our displeasure and showed his support. He did not join the other monks at the front of the line but waited until everyone else had been served; he ate last. Due to this and other actions, Kajo was ostracized by the other Japanese. He stayed in his earlier circle of friends -- Mercury, Carole, Sandy, Mary, and Jane. I understood that Kajo was then even considering leaving the Nipponzan Myohoji order and entering medical school in Japan. He had already studied acupressure for two years._
page 46May l9, Crofton to Annapolis_ It was a very hard day, though we had to walk only fourteen miles. I had a headache most of the day._ That day and the day before we encountered the most consistently hostile reaction since the walk began. The L.A. walkers said the same. This is ironic since we had heard so much about the danger we faced in the South. Paul, the twelve-year-old, was hit in the head by a stone thrown from a passing car. Luckily he wasn't injured badly. Two cars came very close to deliberately running into the walk. The police too were very hostile, especially in Annapolis. They would drive by and shout out orders, often shouting that we were walking too close to the road._ One walker, Michael, was accused of stealing money from the people he had stayed with last night. The woman's purse was missing and was found later in the wooded area behind the house. The money was gone. Michael had to leave the walk and go to the police station to be questioned. He had been with the L.A. walk a long time and everyone was convinced of his innocence. We suspected there was someone who had joined recently who was trying to discredit us but did not try to guess who that might be._ Also, Mary Jane was stopped this morning. The police wanted to check the registration on the van. Its safety inspection had expired last month and she had sent the papers to the Department of Motor Vehicles in California but had not received the new registration card yet. The police insisted she park the van until the card arrive. Our two support vehicles were already overloaded with luggage; now we would have to make do with one for a time._ Annapolis is the home of the US Naval Academy, helping explain the hostile re-action to us upon entering the city. Many people shouted at us angrily; even groups of young Blacks threatened us verbally. We stopped briefly at a downtown church, unpacked our luggage from Bob's bus, and stacked it up along the walls of the hallway. After a brief rest break, we proceeded to walk the short distance to the Naval Academy for a prayer vigil._ The Academy is fenced in and isn't open to visitors. We were stopped at the guard house at the main entrance. For the past little while we had watched an afternoon thunderstorm approaching. As we began the vigil, we heard the first thunder which soon boomed loudly, with lightning flashing about as nature joined us in condemning the war college. A few large drops of rain fell, but then the rain held off until we were safely inside the church._ We had not seen anyone at the Academy except the guard at the entrance. We also saw few people on our way back from the Academy. Maybe this was fortunate -- the few people we met shouted abuse._ We repaired to a nearby restaurant. It was small and in a half-hour seemed filled solely with peace walkers, nearly all drinking coffee. Only a few had enough money for the extravagance of ordering restaurant food -- soon we would be eating our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the church, where we were greeted by two women who were cleaning._ People were already talking about the June l4 action in New York to "blockade the bombmakers." Planned at the UN missions of the countries with nuclear weapons was CD (civil disobedience) to be coordinated by the War Resisters League which was arranging the necessary training in nonviolence on the l3th: it was essential to respect and care for the human beings opposing us while never compromising our opposition to their war institutions. The training includes role-playing their roles and ours in expected situations, as well as developing one's social philosophy. A census was taken among the walkers to see who would participate, either as a resister or member of a support group._ But I chose not to take part in the June l4th action. I was already near exhaustion and looked forward very much to returning to North Carolina on the l2th. I wished I had the energy needed for the extra commitment and resented the statement I overheard from a walker who said the civil disobedience would prove who was really committed to disarmament. The young man had been with the L.A. walk for less than a month._ I was to be the only guest that night of a man named Bish. After dropping my pack at his house, he drove me around historical Annapolis including the campus of St. Johns. We discovered we had more in common than our interest in peace, since he was a social worker at a hospital for mentally ill people. He had worked there a long time but was not very happy with his job. He was inquisitive when he found that I was a former social worker who had quit to work for disarmament. During the forties he had worked in an AFSC volunteer service in Mexico. Now in his fifties, he was not sure he wanted social work to be his life-long career. But he thought life would be too insecure if he left. I tried to convey that I had the same fears before I left social work but found that the reverse was true. Despite my fears, I never went hungry or slept in the cold. But professional people are often resistant to a change in life styles. We talked at length during the evening, but when we said good-night, I knew that my arguments had not been convincing._ May 20, Annapolis to Glen Burnie_ Today we walked 19 miles, but it was a much easier day than yesterday. The headache was gone and there was much less hostile reaction, though still lots of firecrackers from some cars._ We walked past the naval academy one more time as we left Annapolis. Some cadets were throwing a frisbee near the fence we walked along. Surprisingly, we got a very friendly reception from them. A few shouted, "Peace Now!" One cadet ran up to the fence and shouted, "Right on! I don't want to get my ass shot off!" Puzzling contrast to the hostility of other Annapolis residents._ At lunch our spirits were lifted again. We stopped next to a Catholic School and about three hundred students came out to talk with us and cheer us on._ At the Catholic Church where we stopped that night, I had a chance to talk at length with Morishita for the first time since we had arrived in DC. He explained his need to spend most of his time with the monks, told me that we would all be joining the L.A. walk in fasting for the remaining three Mondays, and invited me to attend the peace march in Japan the next summer, as one of only ten Americans to be invited. I accepted the invitation happily, but as it turned out I was unable to attend._ May 21, Glen Burnie to Baltimore_ Today was very much upbeat. We were joined by Liz McAllister, her young twins, and six other members of Jonah House for a vigil in front of the Westinghouse plant where the company works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on its defense contracts. During the 30 minutes many employees were exposed to our message that what they do for a living could mean death for many other people._ At lunch Liz told me that she had attended a retreat in Oxford, NC the week before where she had talked with our mutual friends Patrick O'Neill and Carroll and Edith Webber. The Webbers had ridden their bicycles to this retreat. As Carroll says, "It is convenient to ride cars. But it is convenience that keeps us on the backs of the Third World. Pardon me! But it is so convenient." That last was said as the group piled into Jim Berry's big car for the trip to Goldsboro for a regular vigil at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base._ After lunch we had to walk continuously until we arrived at our scheduled time in Baltimore. The lack of water was worse than the lack of a rest break. The traffic was heavy and the air full of dirt and smog as we crossed over a long bridge into the city. The pollution was worse here than in any other city we walked through. The reaction of the people on the highway was unfriendly, but from the people on the sidewalk very friendly._ Police, absent at first, soon became numerous, many on horseback. They were more than a little angry because they said that they had not been informed of the walk. Our coordinator said that he had called and been told that a permit would not be needed. Communications had ended there._ We walked in a slum area and then through the crowded downtown area handing out leaflets. One middle-aged man walked along beside me. He said that he was unemployed and wanted to know our position on employment. I told him that I was in favor of conversion of defense spending to social spending. He seemed disappointed that employment was not our main concern. He said he would join us if he were paid to do so, but since none of us got paid, he walked away._ As we walked through the working class section of the city, we were told that England and Argentina were now officially at war. Later I learned that England had ships with nuclear weapons aboard within the war zone. They must have been prepared to use them._ After a long walk through the city, we came to the Methodist church. Many TV crews were waiting to cover our arrival. Supper, provided by Bread for the World, and an interfaith service were scheduled at the church. One TV station did live news coverage of our supper._ Early this morning we learned that we would have a rest day in Baltimore. This came as a welcome surprise, as we had thought that there would be no more rest days after DC. The flow of communications within the walk was now pitiful._ Doug, Bill, and I were to stay with Robert and Greta Pollard, a very interesting couple. They worked with the Alternative Press Index, similar to the Readers Guide except that it listed small, movement-oriented periodicals usually omitted from mainstream ind-exes. Robert was from England and Greta from the Federal Republic of Germany. Both were young children during WW II. Both remembered bombs falling near their homes._ I had a lot in common with Greta. She too was a former social worker and also a former member of Students for a Democratic Society. We stayed up until 1:00 a.m. talking about the class struggle and pacifism. Greta was interested in finding how I had "gone wrong." This was the first time that the goals and methods of the peace walk were questioned by people to the left of us. I was grateful to Greta for making me think about questions I had not considered in a long time. As we left Baltimore, she said that she would be closer to our beliefs if only she had seen more pacifists who were also activists._
page 47May 22, Rest day in Baltimore_ This was the last rest day of the walk. There would now be twenty straight days without rest. I slept for twelve hours last night; even then I slept a lot in the afternoon._ Doug went to a nearby restaurant and brought back two dozen steamed crabs. After we ate all of them, we walked back to the restaurant and bought crab cakes. We lived near Baltimore when we were five years old and eating crab cakes in Baltimore on Saturday afternoon was one of our fondest memories of that time._ May 23, Walk through Baltimore_ We had the morning off and I slept late. At l:30 we assembled near the Methodist church for a five-mile walk through Baltimore. It was cold; a heavy rain had begun. With cold rain, relatively few local people joined us, but some two hundred still came. We had expected more on a Sunday afternoon._ Again Liz McAllister and others from Jonah House were there. Her husband Phillip Berrigan was still in prison for a CD action, and his brother Dan away. As we passed various government buildings, we would stop while Liz told us of that agency's complicity in war preparation. At the courthouse we were told that preparation for nuclear war was completely within the proper legal framework._ May 24, Baltimore to Joppatowne We walked 19 miles today. What distinguished this day for me was fasting on a walking day. We had neither food nor water. It was cool and cloudy, so we could walk fast. The weather also helped make not drinking water tolerable._ We were joined by a few more folks from Baltimore, one man saying he would join to New York but leaving at lunch. We were more than a hundred now. _ We hadn't seen Michael since arriving in Baltimore; that evening I learned why. Someone saw him smoking pot Friday and reported it to Morishita. That evening, in the course of a long argument, Morishita told Michael he could remain on the walk if he promised not to use pot again. Michael rejected anyone's right to make such a demand and left without saying goodbye to anyone, not even to Jimmy, with whom he had arrived at Twin Oaks._ With the fast, there was no supper that night, and the evening service was attended by only about twenty. But the minister was friendly and supportive. I heard a radio report that 400,000 had demonstrated in Tokyo the day before against nuclear weapons._ May 25, Joppatowne to Aberdeen_ Cool, cloudy weather made the day's 16 miles relatively easy. The schedule meant something special to Doug and me, for we would walk by the Aberdeen Proving Grounds today, where the army tests much new military technology._ Our family lived next to the APG for a year when I was five. I don't remember much about the base except that soldiers would often come to our house for a drink of water._ This morning Morishita told me that our hosts in Aberdeen called last night to request we not hold a vigil at the Proving Grounds, saying it would alienate local people and harm the local peace effort. Morishita said we would defer to their request but would still walk to the base; he did not say what action was planned._ Our hosts bought us breakfast in Gino's fast food restaurant, which was completely filled with peace walkers except for a few local farmers who ate in silence._ Later in the day Mary Jane told me that someone had stolen two large American flags from the front of the church where we had slept. They were there at 6 a.m. but gone at 8:00, when we left. It was pretty clear that someone among us was responsible for the theft; the minister became unhappy now._ So there seemed to be someone trying to discredit us in local communities -- this was the second incident in less than a week. Mary Jane spoke with some of the monks about a government plant, but the monks thought it was more likely an undisciplined peace walker. In any case, this was the last such incident._ At lunch there was no talk of the army base. I wondered whether the monks had decided not to go there. I wondered also about the kind of peace group that would ask us not to pray at the gate of the base._ That afternoon we didn't have to walk far before turning off route 1 to follow the road to the proving grounds. It was a four-lane road going nowhere except to the base. During the morning there had been a lone police car driving back and forth to keep an eye on us. Now it was evident that all 125 of us were walking to the base, a two-mile walk along the road. Then I saw what master strategists the monks were. Yoshida motioned us to slow down and to walk in more disciplined formation. We were all chanting loudly, and our feelings were like those felt when marching on the Capitol building. Soon four police cars were driving past._ Yoshida stopped the march 250 yards short of the gate for a "rest break", though we hadn't walked far since lunch. We sat beside the road for about 15 minutes and did what we usually did at rest breaks, sitting in small circles chatting and passing around bottles of water. Meanwhile more and more police cars were pulling up to the gate. MPs had also arrived and were lined up across the road. It looked to me that Yoshida was setting up a confrontation rather than avoiding one. After the police were evidently in place, Yoshida got us back into disciplined formation. We again walked slowly and stopped at the gate. One MP approached, identifying himself as chief of base security. He ordered us to disperse and read all the federal regulations we would be violating by entering the base. After he had finished, Yoshida bowed slightly and led the walk away from the gate. But instead of walking back as we had come we turned onto a small dirt road running along the base fence. In this manner we kept the police and MPs guessing all afternoon about our actions._ One man told me at supper that evening that he had listened to his police scanner radio. He wanted to know what we had done because we had tied up every police officer in the county all afternoon. But we had done nothing illegal: just walked along the side of a road._ The dirt road beside the base eventually led us into central Aberdeen. We walked through the business section and through a residential area. All the monks except Sakamaki and Chanti, and most of the women and children, were hosted in private homes. The rest of us were split up between two different churches, each of which had its potluck supper and evening program._ Sakamaki and Chanti stayed at my church, along with most of the New Orleans walkers. Chanti, a few months younger than Sakamaki, was the youngest monk in Nipponzan Myohoji; from Sri Lanka, he was the order's only black monk. They joked a lot together, calling each other "brother". Sakamaki, senior now, led the evening prayer and next morning's prayer. It was the first time he had done so, and it was clearly an important event to him._ Our hosts had expected many more people, so we had lots of food at supper. I heaped up on my paper plate as much food as possible. A woman stopped me as I walked past, saying in a sincere manner, "You know, you can go back for seconds." In fact I went back twice for equally large amounts._ I wished the table conversation had matched the food for quality. Sandy was debating the Vietnam war with local people at one table. The man across from me worked as pharmacist at the Proving Grounds and had heard of our maneuvers at the gate. He described his job as studying the effects of drugs on animals. Doug asked whether the army was testing a chemical or biological weapon. He answered "no" but we wondered what he was testing then._ After supper, a few of us went to the parking lot. Almost every car had an APG (Aberdeen Proving Ground) sticker on its rear bumper. No wonder they had requested we not go to APG to pray._ Later we cleaned up the room and set up chairs for the program. The minister said he had announced to the church that the program would be a discussion on Buddhism. Sakamaki agreed, but we were annoyed because we had also talked about disarmament at our programs; but we were hopeful he would talk about Buddhism as it relates to world peace._ But Sakamaki allowed the minister to direct the content, and he asked for a demonstration of their prayer. So Sakamaki and Chanti prayed for ten minutes. Then the two of them answered questions about reincarnation, how their robes were made, etc., etc., etc. It got embarrassing to us._ After almost an hour of this, I walked up to the minister and whispered that we would like to spend a few minutes talking about disarmament. He said it was late and there was no time left. I told him I would like to speak for just five minutes and then began at the first opportunity. I acknowledged it was good to learn more about a different religion. But the purpose of our walk was to encourage discussion of disarmament. Then everybody got up to leave._
page 48May 26, Aberdeen to Elkton Sakamaki and Chanti had begun morning prayers before six o'clock. Almost no one joined them. Sakamaki had angered many of the New Orleans walkers. Before we got to DC he was friendly and always laughing. Now he never spoke to us except in a negative manner. We showed our disapproval by not coming to the prayers this morning; I wrote postcards. Then we had breakfast at McDonalds, paid for by our hosts -- the bill must have been at least $l50. In the restroom I ran into Kurimori, standing with his back to me and struggling to put a door back on one of the stalls. It had pulled off in his hands; he must have been wondering why all these things happened to him._ We had 21 miles to walk, and it was very hot. Ohms carried the prayer banner, setting a fast four-mile-an-hour pace although we could not arrive at the church until 4 o'clock. By then, my legs were sore and many people had blisters on their feet._ Before lunch we had to cross the narrow, mile-long bridge across the Susquehanna. Walking was forbidden, but a friendly farming family from Elkton was waiting to carry us across in their tractor trailer, which they used to move farm animals._ Lunch brought some excitement. A man stopped his car and came over, talking in a loud angry voice. He blamed all the world's problems on Jews. We did not care to argue with him but, at the same time, did not care to be subjected to his hatred. A few of us drew him away from the rest, trying to talk with him in a calm voice._ That evening Yoshida left after the evening service for a meeting in New York City. Meanwhile John, Eileen, and Beata arrived from Philadelphia. They had attended the opening day of the appeals from the Plowshares Eight trial. Chances of overturning the conviction or of reduction of the sentences were about nil._ A few rumors went around. One, there would be a rest day in Philadelphia. Again, Yoshida would hold a meeting tomorrow to talk about the rule on drugs. This excited the L.A. walkers who had not had a group meeting since leaving Los Angeles seven months ago, and they had a few things to air. Finally, there was word that the Venerable Fuji would arrive in New York on June lst and any walker who wished could go there to greet him._ May 27, Elkton to Wilmington, Delaware_ Right after morning prayers, Yoshida did call a meeting, which was a ten-minute lecture with no opportunity for discussion. He spoke of the importance of keeping our con- centration on the walk and of keeping the rules on drugs. One bad incident could severely damage several years of work by many people. The success of the walk was much more important than anything else. He recounted how a single incident, the stealing of a car in Ohio by one walker, had damaged the reputation and objectives of the l976 Continental Walk for Peace and Justice; the walkers were dismissed as a group of thieves._ I found myself agreeing with much of what Yoshida said. But it was very unfortunate that the structure of the walk could not have been more democratic, less authoritarian. So many were now so dissatisfied with the decision-making structure that Yoshida's words had little impact._ The day's distance equalled our longest, 23 miles, and this after several hard days. Many of us were still hurting from yesterday's long miles and fast pace. And we were picking up new walkers every day now; it was especially hard for them._ Almost as the walk began, someone threw a full can of beer from a fast moving car; it hit just in front of me, spraying me. We walked alongside heavy traffic. The diesel fumes from trucks and the smog hurt my throat; it was difficult to breathe deeply. Many drivers were momentarily distracted by the walk. We saw two minor auto accidents and two near-misses. It was unbelievable that the police would not provide us with an escort._ Walking into Wilmington was similar to walking into Baltimore, with a fine reception in the downtown area, especially among Blacks. We had a potluck supper at a church, the program lasting for two hours. For the first time Socialist Workers Party members were actively involved in our local coordination._ Doug and I stayed with the minister's family. I enjoyed their company very much. Since D.C. we had not had much chance to relax in individuals' homes and spend an evening in conversation. Our evenings had been falling into a pattern of potluck supper, church service, unpack the bus, find your own backpack, find a place to sleep._ Two walkers, Steve and Terrie, went to New York to help with organizing there. I was grateful for the relaxing evening after a 16-hour day._ May 28, Wilmington, Del., to Gibbstown, NJ_ Seventeen miles today, but miles made longer by a heavy cold rain which fell all day; in the afternoon, thunderstorms. Despite -- in some cses, because of -- the weather, we got one of our best receptions._ First crossing the Delaware into New Jersey, we walked to a morning rest break at St. James Catholic Church and went in to get out of the rain. As we entered, we were surprised by two hundred elementary school children greeting us in song: "Peace is Flowing Like a River". Cold and wet, we were touched. Yoshida in a short program talked to the children. On the road again, the rain felt less wet._ Near noon the drivers of our advance vehicles were looking for a dry place for lunch. A man came up and offered his house for shelter and we gladly accepted. We shed our rainwear in the garage and hung it up to dry. Then l25 people filed into the house, leaving their wet shoes in the kitchen. Our gracious host returned from a store with cokes for all. His hospitality was, he said, in memory of his recently deceased wife -- he was sure she would have done the same. We took an hour break for lunch there, and it passed too quickly. It took a while to match people with shoes and rainwear, but then we were out in the rain again._ Walking was nearly unbearable as the rain penetrated beneath our rainwear; my jeans were soaked and water-heavy, adding to the weight of each step. The ground had become saturated, and water was sometimes well above our ankles. Drivers were keeping their distance and slowing down, as a rule, but occasionally someone would drive too close, splashing gallons of water on each of us._ Then, as the rain became even more intense, we received unplanned hospitality -- a mechanic offered us the use of his garage for a breather. There were so many of us I couldn't get close to the mechanic, but caught a sense of pleasant talk._ A county police officer came to the garage and talked with us, saying that he would provide us an escort, but we should still be very careful of the traffic in such weather. He added that this area was badly polluted by many chemical plants and rated by the E.P.A. as the third most polluted area in the United States. The underground water was unsafe to drink, he despaired._ It was time to slop ahead in the continuing thunderstorm. Most of us were beyond the point of caring, but a few knew how to turn misery into recreation and, yippie-like, jumped and splashed in puddle and ditch, where water was two to three feet deep in places. This lifted their spirits and those of their neighbors._ Before long we were in Gibbstown, and completely surprised by a great reception. There were hand-drawn posters on almost every telephone pole, each with a different slogan. We read aloud, "Welcome Buddhist monks!", "We Pray with the Peace Marchers", "Stop Nuclear Terror". Then people ran out of their houses into the rain to shake our hands. Drivers pulled their cars off the road and walked with us. Other people stopped their grocery shopping and came outside to wave. The town seemed to be for us one hundred per cent._ May 29, Gibbstown to Camden_ The distance was the same as on the 28th, but the weather had changed overnight. It was warmer, with clear skies, and we were little troubled by the mud underfoot. Just before we started, Tetsul threatened to throw one of yesterday's exuberant splashers off the walk; he had kept it up as we entered Gibbstown. I agreed with Tetsul that this had detracted from the depth of the reception, but no one agreed with the drastic penalty and for once, popular demand carried the day._ For whatever reason, we left Gibbstown in high spirits, the monks themselves excited, and by the end of the day so many good things had happened that Morishita told me that the day's walk reminded him of European peace walks. Twenty people joined us as we left the church; many joined throughout the day, some for just a mile or so, as one small town followed another. It was Saturday, with many folks outside; again there were many hand-drawn signs on the telephone poles, as well as many balloons, especially in Camden. Small groups, and families, stood on corners to welcome us, presenting us often with flowers as we walked by. Many police officers in their parked cars gave us the peace sign._ We were to spend the night at Sacred Heart School and were greeted there by Father Michael Doyle, one of the "Camden 28" found innocent by a jury after dumping draft files in the street. After we had unpacked the bus and relaxed a bit, many people came by to talk. It was clear that people in this working-class Irish-Catholic neighborhood loved and respected Father Doyle very much. His strong support of the peace walk had to a large extent created our tremendous reception._ After showering at the Y and taking an excellent supper, we were driven to the Walt Whitman Center for a very good Walt Whitman performance by Will Studds. We weren't dressed for Studds' wine and cheese reception afterward, but he invited the monks to his dressing room. While waiting their return, I had a chance to ask Kurimori how he had liked the performance. He seemed a little confused, and had had difficulty with the English, he said. I told him about Whitman and took him to a statue at the entrance. He read the inscription and said, "Oh! Walt Whitman!" He said in Japan they pronounced it "White-man". He had read Whitman's poetry; it was a shame that no one had explained to Kurimori and the other Japanese what they were going to attend._
page 49May 30, Camden to Philadelphia_ It was Pentecost Sunday, designated as Peace Pentecost. We were slated to walk 3.5 miles but ended up walking ten._ One of three church services we attended was a mass by Father Doyle. He said that the Peace March was the brightest thing to happen to Camden in the past fourteen years (Camden was one of the brightest things to happen to the Peace March), that Camden had been bypassed and "stepped on" long enough, that at last people were "walking through Camden with messages of peace."_ As the mass ended we heard loud hammering outdoors. Leaving first, we found what it was. A man from the Brandywine Community was standing outside beating a Mark XII-A missile nose cone with a large hammer. He was symbolically beating a sword into a plowshare; the reader may recall our seeing that nose cone in Richmond._ The congregation gathered outside and almost all joined the walk, carrying flowers and tree boughs through Camden. We had seen a depressing port area of Camden city the day before; more bleakness that day as we walked through the downtown area -- deserted, with long-boarded-up stores. Camden had indeed been stepped on._ After a short mass in the cathedral, when the priest warned that no one could join the walk carrying their own flag, we crossed the river on the Ben Franklin Bridge, getting a spectacular view of Philadelphia. At the end of the bridge was our host church, St. Augustine's. A plaque there stated that the church had been burned in l844 in anti-Irish-Catholic riots. After a peanut butter sandwich, it was time to walk to the GE plant that manufactured that nose cone._ The Philadelphia streets were congested with walkers, but they were undisciplined by Yoshida, walking every which way, and unrelated to us. It was just Sunday downtown, and after a bit we emerged from the confusion and made our way to the plant, where Brandywine community members were waiting. In the vicinity were police and security guards with cameras. There had been a mishap._ Ten minutes earlier the police had arrived and asked for proof of ownership of the nose cone, which Brandywiners had found in the garbage some weeks earlier. The police said it looked like GE property to them and proceeded to confiscate it; as they loaded it onto their truck bed, our drums could be heard, beating accusatorily, for the nose cone was to have been presented to the United Nations on June l2th._ After a powerful half-hour vigil, we headed for St. Augustine's, stopping at a Chinese Catholic church, the Church of the Resurrection, for supper on the way. It was a delicious full-course Chinese meal, served to Japanese Buddhist monks in Scrapple City._ May 3l, Philadelphia to Germantown_ Eight miles today -- not too much except that the day had been earlier scheduled as a rest day, and we had made plans. However, Yoshida had decided it would be better for us to walk through the city rather than be driven, and we were to start walking at 2:30. Our plans were to visit Henry Campbell, who used to work in the same chemistry lab that Doug did, and his wife Suzanne. So we got up early and took the train to Lansdale, which left us an hour and a half to visit -- and to take them up on their offer to let us run our dirty clothes through their washer and dryer and to run ourselves through their shower. While we did these last chores, our hosts made sandwiches for lunch. Our talking time was limited to lunch and went too quickly. There wasn't even time for the clothes to get completely dry._ The police had selected our parade route, which took us through the most blighted urban area of the entire march. Huge areas had been completely devastated by fire or bulldozer. Those buildings still standing showed no sign of habitation, but every so often a voice would shout from deep inside somewhere, almost invariably a message of hate and blasphemy. There were a very few pockets of approval amid the racist epithets toward the Japanese and their companions -- we felt like foreign invaders. My mind went back to the KKK reaction in Albany, Louisiana. We walked without breaks, getting to Germantown at 4:30. Fast time._ We were hosted by three churches there, mine the Quaker and the farthest away. Our bus driver Bob insisted that we walk there, carrying our luggage to avoid overstraining the old bus. Like the bus, we were all strained, Bob as well. A few nights ago he lectured us on our laziness and on not caring enough about the bus. He said we had it easy, just had to walk (and not drive an old bus). He thought we should wash the bus's windows and headlights after the evening program. And so I became aware of yet another division within the walk and became more appreciative of the difficult job he had._ Each of the three churches had a potluck supper and evening program. At ours, we heard that the disarmament coalition had chartered one hundred buses to the June l2th rally. And we heard that last March more than l5,000 walked through the city with the European Peace Walkers. Those walkers must have received a different impression of Philadelphia from the one we gained today. June l, Germantown to Northeast Philadelphia_ Eighteen miles to go this day -- our last month and indeed our last week of the walk to the UN. But 45 of us left after lunch to greet Fuji at his arrival in New York and did not walk the total distance. I was eager to meet the ninety-eight year old man who had initiated the World Peace March. Some of those who did not go to greet Fuji did so for a definite reason -- to show dissatisfaction with the monks' use of authority._ The three police officers who had been with us the past three days said goodbye to the monks who were leaving, each officer shaking the hand of each monk. One officer paid us a high compliment. He said that in fifteen years on the Philadelphia force he had never seen a more dedicated and disciplined group. They wished us success. They were not the ones who had developed yesterday's parade route!_ Something else had happened between us and those three. Walking with us the first day, they wore their guns. That night the monks asked Mary Jane to complain to them about the presence of guns. Guns were a violation of the rules of the walk. They asked that if the police wore guns, that they not walk with us but stay in their car, but I didn't expect them to comply. The next day the policemen were not wearing guns, nor again today._ Around l:00 o'clock, the 45 of us packed into Bob's bus, more than it had ever carried. I found an 18-inch space under the bed in back and slept during the rough two-hour ride. At the airport, we found the plane not due for three hours. Many of us went to the lobby and drank coffee and read newspapers._ On a front page I read an article that the US State Department had denied visas to 300 of the l,400 from Japan who were to attend SSD-II, saying they were subversives. I later learned a few further facts. Some of those denied visas were members of Nipponzan Myohoji; all those denied visas had gotten plane tickets from the same travel agency; those who had obtained visas were members of the same organizations as those who were denied. On June 7th all of those who had originally been denied visas had been given visas to attend the UN session, but these restricted them to a twenty-five-mile radius of New York City._ Back at the bus at 5 o'clock, we checked the food box and found we had all the makings for macaroni sandwiches. Done: not tasty but meeting the basic requirement of being food. One person said the monks could make a sandwich out of anything; he had seen one put a doughnut between two slices of bread._ (Andy will send more about waiting, and Fuji arrival!p.503-4):_ Around 8:45, Fuji's plane landed. His trip had tired him and he needed to rest before the reception. Only two drums were allowed to beat, and finally he came past in his wheelchair, monks and nuns, heads bowed slightly, walking close to him. We followed to the lobby, reserved for the reception._ Fuji spoke briefly, smiling widely but in a weak voice. I could not understand the English of his translator. He finished. We all took off our shoes and began to pray. After ten minutes, each person went up to him, dropped on their knees, bowed, then rose and shook his hand. A couple of monks, including Morishita, introduced the walkers to him. More than a hundred people were introduced as we chanted softly. The reception was over when the last person was introduced, and we left immediately. I saw Fuji being helped into the back seat of a big limo. We N.O. and L.A. walkers made our way back to the bus._ June 2, Northeast Philadelphia to Levittown_ After morning prayers Yoshida said he was told we would be walking through the most conservative area in the whole country. (I had heard this before and laughed to myself. I wished it were the most conservative since our reception had been so friendly.) Yoshida then left for New York City to talk with Fuji._ We had only fifteen miles to walk. We were joined by a dozen new walkers that day; they would stay with us until June l2th, a daily pattern of additions until we arrived in New York City._ Last night a young man joined. After a few days, it was clear he had little touch with reality. But we no longer had any screening procedure for new walkers. A few of us took it upon ourselves to keep an eye on him. He was huge, with shaven head, but was a threat to no one. He could not engage in conversation; he would not respond when asked his name and had a vacant stare. Evenings he walked around talking softly to himself. The prayer drum had to be taken from him as he would tap it as a child would. No one knew anything about him._ One morning I saw him standing in the bathroom watching Nagase shave his head. The man ran his hand over the short hair on his head, muttering over and over, "I like my hair. I like my hair." I told Morishita of this and my other observations. He had heard from Toby that the man was an FBI plant; now he was saddened. We did not know what to do. We lacked much personal interaction with our coordinators now, so would have to ask outside help if he presented any problem. For now, we let him stay with us; in New York we told the office there, hoping they could help him, but they had far too many other things to do to get involved in this._ Now we stopped just outside a small town for lunch. This morning students of the school we had stayed at last night had presented each of us with a bag lunch. Doug, opening his, found two grape jelly sandwiches, a twinkie with grape filling, and a small bottle of grape drink._ At 3 o'clock we reached the Catholic school in Levittown, a big school with all its students in the parking lot awaiting us, more than l,200 of them. We walked between the two lines they had formed, feeling like their football team at a pep rally._ That night, right before our program, Morishita realized he had lost his speech, and it had been several weeks since he had given it. But I think his talk was more effective that night than before when he read from prepared material._ Then I spoke briefly, and then Yo got up to speak. She managed to turn many there against us, her speech full of anti-American rhetoric -- perhaps justifiably considering what the American military had once done to her country. But her criticism of the Soviet military was mild: "I know the Russians aren't angels." Many walkers were uneasy, and I thought afterward that we had done a thorough job of alienating our supporters in this Trenton area. But when we walked into Trenton around noon the next day, many people joined us._ When we arrived back in Levittown, we found that there had been a very good program there that night. It was held outside the school in the parking lot and was attended by several hundred people. Six right-wingers, led by Rev. Carl McIntyre, came to picket us._
page 50June 3, Levittown to Princeton_ The local newspaper had two pages on last night's program. It was mostly pictures, but there were also two articles on Carl McIntyre's "moral majority"._ We had to walk 19 miles today, so we got an early start. The same students who greeted us outside the school yesterday were there again to tell us goodbye. The prayer circle encompassed the whole of the large parking lot._ As we left, we were followed by a man driving an old Ford. He was a free-lance photographer, he said, and certainly he took a lot of pictures. He would stop his car, take a few pictures and a nip from his bottle, then race toward us. The pattern was repeated many times and sometimes he came very close to hitting people. Even when a walker asked him not to drive so close, he persisted until the police asked him to leave._ Between Levittown and Princeton, we walked through mostly rural areas uneventfully. A young Black police officer waited at the bridge into Trenton. As we approached, he got out of his car and came over to welcome us to Trenton. He shook everyone's hand as we walked past him, and then served as our escort through town. Then it was on through more of the "garden state" to Princeton, where we were to stay at the Episcopal Church._ June 4, Princeton to New Brunswick_ We walked 18 miles today. The tendons in my ankles hurt from walking in gravel all day yesterday._ At 4 o'clock we arrived for a prayer vigil at the Army Recruiting Center, in the same building as E. F. Hutton. Yoshida was speaking when a recruiting officer walked past. Yoshida told us that in Japan for twenty years after WW II, Military men were too ashamed to wear their uniforms in public. The military was a dishonored profession because the people had seen what militarism could do to a country. But now, Yoshida said, Japan has forgotten the lessons of the war. To some extent this is also true in the US. What will it take to keep that lesson in our minds always?_ About fifteen local people joined us for the vigil. I talked with a woman from the Peace Center. She asked, "How long does it take to walk from New Orleans? A month?"_ At supper we were joined by thirty people who called themselves the Peace Pilgrims. They had taken two weeks to drive from California to the Special Session in a bus that looked like Bob's. They also stopped at military bases and weapon factories to hold vigils. The people who had prepared our supper had not expected so many walkers. Supper consisted of a spoonful of beans and a spoonful of macaroni. _ June 5, New Brunswick to Elizabeth_ When I woke up, the first thing that entered my mind was that we would be in NYC tomorrow. This would be our next to last day of walking. And it rained constantly as we walked from one small town to another._ June 6, Elizabeth, NJ to New York City_ This day I would walk the final nineteen miles of a 1,895 mile journey. I started out with a sore throat and a cold. The heavy rain of yesterday had ended, but it was still misty with temperatures in the 50s, much like the weather as we left New Orleans on New Year's Day. I started out this morning with a sore throat and a cold. Since New Year's Day I had lost more than twenty pounds and could be said to be just skin and bones. My joints ached and my feet were bruised._ It was Sunday, and in Brooklyn many people were drawn out of their houses into the streets by the sound of the prayer drums. First we walked through the Puerto Rican section and were well received. Next we walked through the Italian section, where we were less than enthusiastically received. Some of the street gangs walked beside us, shouting their threats. But I loved walking through Brooklyn: it was like no other place that we had been before._ We were welcomed to New York with a few short speeches when we reached the YWCA where we were to spend the night. I was sick and tired and not in much of a mood to celebrate, even if there had been a celebration. _
page 51June 7, Walk to the United Nations_ Today's six-mile walk was the culmination of a walk which had crossed the world. We hoped to bring our message to the ambassadors in the UN that people of the world want an end to nuclear weapons._ But David managed to get even today off on a sour note. Last night the monks announced that we must get up early. David woke everyone at 5:15 by turning on all the lights. After a few minutes, one of the monks turned them off, but David immediately switched them on again, shouting, "They are the ones who are laying this early trip on us, and by God we're going to get up early." A few curses were directed toward "Tinker Bell", but more sleep was hopeless and we got up._ The New Orleans walkers left for the starting point of their ceremonial arrival, the Battery, and arrived just a few minutes before 8 o'clock. We began our walk almost immediately. We were joined not by local people but by Martin Romantchuk and by Greenville friends Carroll and Edith. Martin, a Finnish biochemist that year at East Carolina University, had joined the Webbers with his wife, Ylva Lindholm, on the 550-mile bicycle trip from North Carolina. The four had ridden from Princeton, aided by the Staten Island ferry and Manhattan subway, the day before. Now their bikes were in Teaneck, NJ._ Also almost immediately, I had to ask Ray, one of the Peace Pilgrims, to stop asking people for donations. He told me that he was not asking for money. I told him that it was a matter of principle for the World Peace March never to ask for money. We depended on people's good will, but we never begged though ready to accept what was offered freely._ Almost an hour later I had another complaint that someone was asking people for money. I again went back to talk with Ray. This time he did not deny soliciting money. He said that he had done this everywhere as part of the Peace Pilgrimage. I asked him either to quit asking people for money for the Peace Pilgrimage or to stop walking with the Peace March. He agreed to stop asking for money. Anyway, I don't think he was having much success._ As we got to the park at 42nd street, we were joined by many people from the Japanese delegation to the UN Special Session. They were carrying a wooden box with a huge stone inside. On it was the image of a man's face in tortured agony. The image had been burned into the stone by the atomic blast at Hiroshima. At the park we were also joined by Fuji and his entourage of thirty monks and nuns. Soon our overall coordinator, Pamela Blockey O'Brien, was there too, hugging us all. _ We walked with the L.A. walk just a few blocks before we arrived at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, where we met all the other walks -- from Bangor, from San Francisco, and from Montreal. There were now a half dozen Buddhist prayer banners flying together._ At the opening ceremony, four walkers representing the many groups in the Peace March were presented to Jan Martensen, Deputy Secretary of the UN and the presiding official of SSD-II. I represented the US walkers. Then the Olympic torch was brought in to light the flame for SSD-II, and the Special Session was officially open._ The program continued for the whole day, including brief statements from elder statesmen in wheelchairs of whom Nobel Peace Prize winner Lord Philip Noel-Baker was the youngest at 92, and a Children's Walk for Life by children around the age of seven. I was to speak, but the time kept shifting. It was 4 o'clock when I got one and a half minutes to give my impression of the walk. All I attempted to say was how the walk had changed some people in the towns we passed through and how it had changed me._ After the program Doug and I met Joy Bannerman, a friend from Chapel Hill, at the YWCA, and went to a coffee shop to warm ourselves with a cup of hot coffee. On the way over, we passed a small group of Hare Krishnas dancing on a street corner. I walked up to one of them and asked whether they were Japanese Buddhist monks. They made no reply. I once told Morishita that I hoped someday soon there would be so many Buddhist monks leading peace marches in the US that the Hare Krishnas would be mistaken for Buddhists._ Joy was staying at a friend's apartment. Doug, Bill, Jimmy, and I accompanied her to the apartment and then decided to stay there to rest for a few hours more. The first thing was to take showers. Soon, we realized that we were hungry. We had not eaten anything except yogurt early this morning. So Doug, Bill, and Jimmy went out to buy some pizza and beer to bring back to the apartment. We no longer cared about the rule of no alcohol. We ate supper sitting on the floor, listening to records. The food did wonders for both bodies and spirits. In reflecting on the day's activities, we had a great sense of accomplishment. We had made it! We congratulated each other and talked about different events of the walk. It seemed to have lasted for years, not just five months._ I gave Tim McGloin a call to let him know that we were in NYC. He told me that our arrival had been the lead-off story on today's NPR's "All Things Considered" with several good interviews with walkers. Tim said he would be at the US mission to the UN on Friday to present petitions demanding that nuclear weapons be withdrawn from the Philippines. Plans were made for Doug and me to meet him there._ It was late when we got to Our Lady of Victory CatholicChurch, where we were to stay during our visit to New York, but a meeting was called to talk about tomorrow's schedule. The priest asked to speak to us first. He told us that five walkers had been mugged outside the church tonight. Warning us that this was a tough neighborhood, he advised against stopping to talk to anyone, surprising advice coming from a priest._ After this meeting Bill and I were asked (along with two other people from each of the other walks) to attend yet another meeting tonight. It was past 11:30. At the meeting, Bill was asked to facilitate tomorrow's meeting and I was asked to represent the New Orleans walk. We were given a list of questions to consider. I was asked to have a report written to present at the meeting in the morning._ It was now past midnight. I was too tired to think, much less try to write a report detailing the events of the major cities that we had walked through. It was an impossible request, and I did not feel at all guilty about going to sleep without thinking about the report._
page 52June 8, In New York City, Evaluation of the walk_ This is the day when all the walkers from all the routes of the World Peace March got together to discuss and evaluate the walk. I was up at 6 a.m. to write notes for the report of the New Orleans walk and then took the subway at 8 o'clock for the one-hour trip to Riverside Church where the plenary session of the walk was to be held._ It began with the Buddhist prayer which lasted for half the morning. We chanted for two and a half hours. Toward the end of the prayer, everyone was invited to offer incense to Buddha. Most of the people did. This was done by walking in single file to the altar. Each person would take a small pinch of incense and sprinkle it on the altar._ After the prayer three people spoke. I was so sleepy I even slept through much of Fuji`s speech. After the speakers, we were told that we were two and a half hours behind schedule and would have time for only one report, that of the L.A. walk. What a disappointment! This was the first time we had all gotten together. A valuable sharing time had been lost._ After lunch we returned to the church and each route met by itself to discuss three assigned topics: l) the evaluation of the walk, 2) where do we go from here, and 3) spirituality. We had three hours to discuss the three topics._ The New Orleans walkers discussed only the first topic. We formed a circle, taking turns talking about the walk from our individual perspectives. Most agreed that the walk before DC was almost perfect when compared with the walk after DC. We had our problems, but at least there had been a strong sense of unity. Our unity had been destroyed when we joined with the L.A. walk. We all concluded that in the future different routes should not be joined before arrival at the final destination. The monks concurred in this conclusion._ After supper in the cafeteria of the church, we made our way to the edge of Harlem, to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest cathedral in the world, we were told. Our seats were so far back that we couldn't see anything at all, and this far back the acoustics were so bad we understand little._ After half an hour Doug, Bill, and I left to go for coffee and to pass the time until we could return to Our Lady of Victory Church after the bingo games were over at 11 o'clock. We saw a few other peace walkers at the coffee shop. I was glad to see Kajo sitting at a table with Sandy, Mary, and Jane._ Everyone was nearly exhausted when the man with the key to the room where our luggage was locked arrived after midnight. We looked forward to sleeping late tomorrow. The next three days were supposedly rest days. Nothing had been planned until the rally on Saturday. In the morning we found out different._
page 53June 9, Vigil in front of the UN_ Tetsul woke us up at seven. He came into each room and said, "The guriji (Fuji) has just called. He said he did not come to New York to rest or to play. So we will go to the UN now to vigil. All those who want to do guruji's will, please come now!" There was lots of muttering and mumbling, but almost everybody got up._ Later I learned the circumstances of the change in schedule. Last night Fuji had a dream that we should go to a vigil in front of the UN. At 5:30 a.m. he had called some of the monks into his bedroom. They discussed Fuji's dream and his plan. I understand that even a few of the monks had voiced opposition to the plan and expressed a need to rest. We had had just one day of rest since we left DC._ We ate some corn flakes, hurriedly. Then we decided that we could not continue to be directed about like this, without some discussion. A meeting was held, attended by more than a hundred people. We learned that the monks had planned to vigil outside the UN for the next two days also. These days had also been scheduled as rest days. Our next rest day would be Sunday, June l3th. We thought this was very generous of the monks, seeing that the walk was over on June l2th. In the meeting we decided that an alternative bulletin board would be established to publicize other events in NYC concerning disarmament. Also, it was decided to have a party tonight to celebrate our arrival in NYC. A party had originally been scheduled for tonight but had been cancelled when some of the monks expressed opposition._ I left after the meeting and took a subway to the U.N. The vigil was outside the U.N. building at the Swords into Plowshares Plaza. It was similar to the vigil outside the White House except that this was not a fast. And this time we were more numerous, more than 300._ The peace walk did not have a permit for the vigil; the plaza had been reserved by Artists for Survival, which had several displays there, but they had given us permission, asking us to let them have the plaza from noon to one. Of course we agreed._ Around noon we got up to leave the site. The few police there tried to prevent us from leaving. Vice President George Bush, at the US mission to the UN a few blocks away, was planning to leave the mission soon._ When the monks learned that Bush was at the US mission, we at once made plans to walk there for an hour vigil. The police were unable to stop us and faced an unexpected security problem. Bush had to stay in the mission an extra hour while additional security forces were brought in. After a while cops were everywhere. Police barricades were put in place, sharpshooters placed on top of the UN building, ambulances parked across the street from the mission. Secret service agents were among us. Bush's limo was backed across the sidewalk to the steps of the mission. We had arrived at noon; around one Bush made his hasty exit. It took him less than three seconds to walk from the door of the mission to the rear door of the limo, surrounded by about a half-dozen Secret Service agents. He had to walk right in front of the monks._ After Bush left we returned to the vigil site in front of the UN. The coincidence of the Bush vigil had been an affirmation of Fuji's dream last night._ After the vigil, we returned to the church and had supper. Then it was announced that a party would be held so people from the different walks could get acquainted. This evoked a two-hour shouting match in the large church cafeteria beween those who wished to follow the original schedule and those who wished to have a party. The debate meant that now there would be time for neither the party nor the scheduled reports -- a handful of hotter heads had seen to it that we would have a free evening._ After a call from New Orleans, Morishita and I had a chance to talk. He apologized for not being more accessible since the arrival in Washington; for various reasons, the monks had needed to close themselves off -- threatened by the size of the walk while needing to keep control of a march they had started two years ago. We said goodbye._ Later, John Machino connected me with a Newsweek reporter with whom I talked for an hour. She was very interested in stories I told and said Newsweek would do features on the June l2th rally next week, including an article on the peace walk. (A few days later, Israel invaded Lebanon. Newsweek did only a two-page article on the peace rally, the largest political demonstration in U.S. history, with a single paragraph about the peace walk.)_ June l0, Vigil in front of the U.N._ There was no argument about vigilling this time, and we walked the seven miles from the church. No one had told the police of our walking, but we were using the sidewalks so no parade permit was necessary. Still, so many people crossing the streets so early in the morning presented a real traffic problem. Soon many motorcycle police came to escort us, stopping traffic at intersections._ At first the police were upset with us for not giving them advance notice but soon everything was going smoothly and they relaxed. One Black policeman who rode near me was supportive. He expressed his hope that a million people would rally on Saturday. He had joined rallies during the Vietnam War, was called crazy, but turned out to be right. He sped off, giving the peace sign._ Other police acted more traditionally, maybe remembering yesterday's Bush affair. They didn't want us returning to yesterday's site and escorted us to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, fairly isolated and not visible from the UN nor to passing traffic. At the Plaza, about thirty police officers set up police barricades around us and the monks reacted immediately, stopping the march rather than trying to cross the barricades. They circulated among us, discreetly telling us to leave in twos and threes and go to yesterday's site. Soon the police found themselves surrounding an empty plaza; we had all assembled in front of the UN, and TV crews from all three networks were with us. Not wanting a mass arrest before Saturday's rally, the police let us stay._ I saw Pamela Blockey O'Brien, who was serving as lobbyist to the United Nations for an NGO. We went for a cup of coffee to talk, starting with some problem areas of the walk. She told me then of the NAAWP letter (I learned there were a number of such letters) and her call to the FBI, as described above (March 28)._ She could translate what the NAAWP people were saying: "We are at the bottom of the pile. Now you are elevating blacks and Japanese. Stop or we'll stop you." They planned a gigantic meeting as the walk approached North Carolina. So she had to call the FBI ("They had been monitoring the walk quietly but I had to make it official! I tried to explain to the walkers the great care they had to take, but I feared it might not be enough...after one of your wrong turns, the man who set you straight was an FBI guardian!") She had written every mayor after the NAAWP messages started coming, explaining the international incident if anything should happen to those monks. Hence many of the police escorts, which some walkers definitely did not like._ Next we talked about Sam, and Pamela said she had not been able to verify that he had even been in the Navy. Clearly Sam had lied to us about important facts, and it now appeared that Pamela's decision that he leave the walk had been right. Still, given the information they had, I believe the walkers made the right decision in Richmond._ She told me of people who had planned for months to entertain walkers -- then walkers claimed their liberty and went elsewhere individually. I remembered. The mutual respect of guest and host is strained when the guest is so tired he really does not want to meet the host!_ And now there were left few areas of disagreement between the walkers and Pamela. I had always been appreciative of her herculean efforts. She had worked with the march for months before it started, and since then long hours daily. Her reimbursement had been not even a postage stamp and she had run up a phone bill over two thousand dollars. Some of her wry anecdotes dealt with this: "I found you hosts where I didn't know ANYbody. I'd get on the phone to (say) the Pass Christian, Mississippi long distance operator. She recognized the name of Hiroshima. `Well, some monks from Japan are leading people who are walking to New York to ask all the United Nations to get rid of all those atomic bombs. Can we find those peace walkers a place to stay when they get to Pass Christian?' `Oh, yes, ma'am. Let me see. Umm, well I'm sure the Baptist Church or the Catholic Church, one or the other, or... we'll find those boys a place...I was in Jay-pan one time...'"_ Her efforts had made the southern route of the World Peace March the most successful route. The coordinator of one of the other routes had given up after a few weeks and the walkers had been left to themselves. They had to select walkers to go ahead as an advance team, responsible for arranging housing, meals, press conferences, programs, etc. They could not produce results equal to those our effective central organization did. I had seen how our passage had united peace groups in North Carolina; Pamela was in position to have seen transformations all along our route, such as new groups in Athens and from as far away as Oak Ridge. The other routes could not match ours in such visible results._ Pamela had an appointment with an official at the United States mission and left while I went back to the vigil. In the afternoon I went to the UN square for the presentation of signatures on a disarmament petition. Now, 35,000,000 Japanese had signed this petition and it weighed two and a half tons. The Japanese delegation to SSD-II presented it to United Nations officials. Afterwards I had coffee and sandwiches with Joy, who had become interested in writing up the walk for a magazine._ Back at the vigil, Julia and Carster walked up to me, two of those we had left under those painful circumstances in Alabama. We embraced. I learned that they and Neils had spent most of the spring in Mexico, where Julia had gotten hepatitis and been hospitalized. They were warmly greeted by Morishita, Nagase, and Sakamaki, and all made plans to meet at the War Resisters League office tomorrow. But I couldn't keep that appointment and the WRL phone was busy whenever I tried to call and I couldn't leave a message. Julia and Carster were engaged and planned to be married in Denmark._
page 54June 11, Religious convocation_ Today's major event was to be the religious convocation at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. The interfaith service didn't begin until noon, leaving the morning mostly free, so of course I slept late, then subwayed to 110th Street, arriving about 11:30. The church was already nearly filled, with religions from around the world represented. Men and women in their varied religious robes were everywhere, and our Buddhist monks and nuns with their prayer banner above were easily visible._ I watched people walk past from the steps, and saw Leslie Withers from Atlanta, Langdon Bristol from Norfolk, and Beverly from New Orleans._ The cathedral had overflowed by the time the service started. With more than l0,000 attending, this was the largest interfaith service ever held in the United States. Such numbers demonstrated the growing awareness of the disarmament issue. The peace rally during SSD-I in l978 had been attended by l0,000 people; tomorrow's rally was expected to draw almost a hundred times that._ At the end of the service, which was addressed by Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and other faiths, people walked from the cathedral to a Central Park site. There a Tree of Life was ceremonially planted, with handfuls of soil from people's home areas, showing their faith in the future. I missed these events, having other appointments to keep related to US nuclear weapons in the Philippines, and to planning for tomorrow -- and for riding back to Durham and home._ After half a large pizza apiece, Doug and I went to the Plowshares Coffeehouse, which was full of people including Joe Felmet. We heard two Vietnamese Buddhists speak. Expelled during the war, they had not been allowed to return and were working in Paris with programs for southeast Asian refugees. One monk found his New York housing had evaporated and the cheapest hotel room he could find in Manhattan was $90 a night; a family of four in southeast Asia could live for six months on $90. The theme of his powerful talk was that each person is important._
page 55June l2, Walk from United Nations to Central Park It was the last day of the Peace March. It was also the day that an estimated million people walked from the United Nations to Central Park in the largest political rally in US history._ Our day began at four, when we got up to attend a prayer vigil in front of the UN, an interfaith vigil which began at sunset last night. Each religion had a time slot, the Buddhists having the hour between 6 and 7 a.m._ Almost at once after getting up, we began our goodbyes. It was hard to say goodbye to people with whom we had shared such an experience as the walk. Words were inadequate and we often parted with just a handshake or a quiet embrace._ In the subway at 5 a.m., a Black man was upset at the protesters. "They don't know nothing about nothing. The Russians won't waste bombs on Harlem or Brooklyn. They won't waste bombs on Blacks. They will only bomb Manhattan." Others on the subway were also hostile, cursing us and telling us to go back to the countries we came from. I told the man near me that I was from North Carolina. He said that was even worse, "cracker country."_ We got to the vigil around 6 o'clock. The police had just set up barricades to keep us from the vigil site and only the monks were permitted to enter. The police told us the permit stated that only fifty people could be present; now, more than one hundred had gathered. The area around the UN was filled with police. After 15 minutes we went in to the vigil anyway, led by the DC Catholic Worker people in crossing the barricades which the police then took down. Everyone entered, and the police showed they didn't care to arrest anyone or provoke a needless confrontation. During the entire day not a single person was arrested._ At 7 o'clock, the Buddhist prayer ended. Benedictine monks were assigned the next hour. Morishita came up to some of us and handed us breakfast, a boiled egg. I said goodbye to the monks in their tradition, each of us bowing three times while chanting "Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo." Doug and I had told the monks that we would walk with Tim and Linda McGloin in order to be with them when the rally ended, for our drive back to Durham then. We could not walk the final three miles with the World Peace March._ The walk to Central Park had a definite order. The Children's Walk led the way, as Isaiah would have had it. The children were followed by the different routes of the World Peace March. Tim and Linda were walking with the Friends of the Filipino People, part of the Third World contingent and the most politically radical section of the walk._ We met Tim and Linda at 48th St. and 2d Ave. We had been there for more than an hour when I heard the familiar beating of a single prayer drum. I ran to investigate; it was Nagase. One of the older monks had gotten separated from the others, and he could not speak English. Other monks had scattered, trying to draw him out of the dense crowd with the drum._ The walk began at l0 o`clock. It takes a long time for a million people to walk into 2d Avenue, and it was past 2 p.m. when our section entered 2d Ave. at the United Nations. The rally at Central Park had begun at noon. 48th St. was filled with people and it was difficult to walk around; I spent most of the four hours simply sitting on the pavement._ The three-mile walk itself was an anti-climactic ending to a l,900-mile walk. I was too tired to have much energy left for excitement. The four-hour wait had taken my remaining energy. I wished I could have felt more excitement at this rally, so many times more successful than could have been imagined on January lst as we left New Orleans._ It was impressive not only because of its size but because of the people who were there. Almost every section and grouping of society was well-represented -- different from the peace rallies of a decade ago. Then people came mostly from one major sector, the college campus. On June l2th the peace movement was well off the campus. The most moving moments for me came as we walked past the Dakota Apartments, where John Lennon lived and where he was shot. People stationed there led each passing section in singing, "Give Peace a Chance."_ Finally at Central Park, we could not enter; it was full, yet more were leaving than entering now. The rally was nearly over. We found a vacant area near the outside of the park. It was not possible to see the main part of the rally, much less the stage; I turned on my transistor radio to a local station giving live coverage, and heard that some people estimated the crowd at l.3 million._ Then, after we had been there only ten minutes, I heard the beating of the prayer drums. Doug and I ran out to the street leaving the park and got there just as the monks were approaching. We stood there with our hands clasped in prayer. Each monk and nun bowed slightly as they walked past. I had been given this final chance to say goodbye to Morishita, Nagase, Sakamaki. I did not see Kajo._ It was the last time I saw Morishita. He was leaving the park which had been filled with almost a million people, still praying for world peace. He was leading a young blind woman who had been with us since we arrived in New York. Soon he would be joining another peace walk which would take him to Moscow. # # # # #go to begin