Walk for Peace & Sustainable Future
Rangley to Berwick
October 11-20 2014

From: Bruce Gagnon's Blog: Organizing Notes
Veterans for Peace: Reports etc

Maine Walk for Peace & A Sustainable Future Underway
Publicity Release
by Dud Hendrick, Maine Veterans for Peace

The Maine Walk for Peace & A Sustainable Future is underway and winding its way along the glorious autumn roads of central Maine.  Beginning in Rangeley last Saturday, the group will pass through Phillips, Farmington, Livermore Falls, Lewiston, Gray, Portland, and Saco before the scheduled arrival in North Berwick on Monday, October 20th.

It is the goal of the walk, sponsored by Maine Veterans for Peace, to connect various communities that have become reliant on military production for jobs.  “We hope to accelerate a statewide discussion about the need to diversify Maine’s growing dependence on military production,” explained lead organizer, Bruce Gagnon, at the introductory meeting.

The 15 walkers would begin the trek to Phillips, 22 miles to the south, Sunday morning.   In Rangeley on Saturday evening, they were guests at a community dinner hosted by the Congregational Church and had an opportunity to share their hopes and motivations for the walk with local residents.  Much of the conversation revolved around the possibility that Rangeley will be selected as the site of a “missile defense” interceptor base.  Walker Mary Beth Sullivan, a social worker from Bath expressed a common sentiment.  Referencing a study conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute at UMASS-Amherst which showed that military spending creates the fewest jobs—while spending on solar, rail, education, health care, or fixing roads and bridges creates more jobs with the same amount of money, Sullivan said,  “Disadvantaged people in our society are paying the price for our reliance on military production.  We should be looking at society’s real needs.”

One participant, Mike Gibson, a student from Augusta, who will be walking the distance, when asked what motivated him to make this commitment, simply stated, “I have a conscience, that says I don’t want to be a part of an economy that is building weapons.” 

The walkers will be distributing flyers and sharing information along the roads and in the hosting communities each evening.  The core group though small, 15-20, will be joined by scores more for a day or two, including students and residents of Farmington.  They urge others to join and refer them to http://vfpmaine.org/Peace Walk Route Maps for Maine2014.pdf  for schedule and contact information.

Gagnon closed his inaugural meeting with a rhetorical question.  “America and Maine’s economies are increasingly addicted to the military.  What does that say about the soul of our nation and state?”

The walk will conclude with a demonstration at the Pratt-Whitney plant in North Berwick which has a $2 billion contract to build F-35 fighter engines. 

Jason Rawn of Hope, Maine takes the lead as the Walk for Peace and & Sustainable Future approaches Farmington. (Photo by Peter Woodruff)

Day One: Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bath to Rangeley

  • Leave Addams Melman House (212 Centre St) in Bath at 9:00 am and drive three
    hours to Rangeley
  • Walk to Rangeley lake for lunch & hold walk orientation
  • Supper and sleep at Rangeley UCC Church (corner of Hwy 4 & High St)
  • Host: Bruce Gagnon

Great Start in Rangeley

Photo by Dud Hendrick

Made it to Rangeley, Maine to start our Walk for Peace & A Sustainable Future...... invited to a turkey supper with more than a hundred people at the local UCC church where we are sleeping on the floor - they just had Br. Senji Kanaeda sing an old Negro spiritual to the assembled ....beautiful start to our peace walk!

The reception has been fantastic.

Day Two: Sunday, October 12

Rangeley to Phillips

  • Begin at Rangeley UCC Church (corner of Hwy 4 & High St)
  • Head southeast on Hwy 4
  • 1.2 miles Scenic overlook on right
  • 3.4 Yamaha Sports & Laundromat on left
  • 6.4 Raymond Rd pull over spot on right
  • Stop & shuttle walkers to 16.9 mile mark
  • 15.5 Old Mobil station on left
  • 16.2 Phillips town sign on right
  • 16.9 Abandoned Bear Hill variety on left (good lunch spot)
  • Resume walking into Phillips (reset odometer)
  • 3.9 Abandoned wooden house on left
  • 5.6 Left at Midway Function Hall
  • Pass yellow storage building
  • Pass Community Roots daycare
  • Path just to right of white fence
  • Left to Phillips Area Community Center
  • Pot luck supper and sleep at center
  • Host: Dick Matthews

Second Day of Peace Walk

Stretching overly tight calve muscles.
Photo by Peter Woodruff

Our second day of the peace walk took us from Rangeley to Phillips where local hosts have organized a three-soup pot luck for us.  It is more than amazing to see the beauty of the Rangeley lakes area and I can't wait to come back to enjoy the nature in this place.

Three peace women from Farmington found us mid-day and walked the remaining distance to Phillips.  We walked a total of 12 miles today.  It's 19 miles to Farmington from Phillips but we will only walk 16 miles tomorrow - got to break ourselves in easy as we go.

The weather today more than fantastic.  Lots of honks from cars, people eager to take our walk flyers, and my favorite moment today was when a car stopped on the highway and took our flyer. 

For Mainers who will understand this - lots of LePage signs up this way.  (For others he is our terrible right-wing governor who is up for reelection and presently tied for the lead in the polls in a three-way race.)

More Walk Photos

Photos by Peter Woodruff

Quite a great walk from Rangeley to Phillips (the smell of the pines trees was enchanting) and when we arrived were hosted to a great feed at the local community center that back in late 1800's to early 1990's was part of the local rail station that served as a stop for tourists who took the train to Rangeley lake.

I am getting Internet connection this cold morning outside the old station house window - hands freezing.

Day 3: Monday, October 13

Phillips to Farmngton

  • Resume walking on Hwy 4 southeast at Midway Function Hall
  • 4 miles Sunoco on left
  • 3.0 School of Masonry on left
  • 6.1 Country Delight Dairy Bar on right
  • 7.3 Pullover area on left
  • 9.0 White house farm on left
  • 12.0 Rt 4 Raceway on left
  • 15.0 Wood barn on right
  • 17.0 IBEC Electric on right
  • 18.8 Downtown Farmington
  • 19.0 Old South First Congregation Church on right for pot luck supper
  • Home stays
  • Host: Doug Rawlings

Arrived in Farmington

Lunch on the road on way to Farmington

Our blister bus and gear car for the walk

Photo by Peter Woodruff

We made good time to start the day doing three miles in 45 minutes rather than the usual hour - the early morning cold might have had alot to do with it.  All together we walked about 15 miles.

The part of Maine we've been walking through is a conservative Republican bastion.  We made 1,000 half-page flyers about the walk and hand them to any one we see along the road.  Sometimes we have to run a bit to a nearby house when we see someone stick their head out the door because they heard the drumming by the Buddhist monk and the others who drum along with him.  We also put flyers in the newspaper boxes along the side of the road but few people subscribe to local papers anymore so they are few and far in between.

We got lots of food donated to us last night from the pot luck supper in Phillips so our lunch today was quite abundant.  It becomes a challenge to find ways to carry all the gifts of food and drink people donate to us.

A Veterans for Peace (VFP) member from the Boston area arrived in Farmington today just after we arrived.  He'll walk with us tomorrow.  Our dear friend Starr Gilmartin arrives tomorrow for the rest of the way.  She walked with us last year on our Maine Drone walk from Limestone to Bath. A Buddhist nun and another monk are coming on Wednesday.

Tonight we will be hosted by Maine VFP co-founder Doug Rawlings in Farmington at the UCC church and then we'll be taken to different homes for showers and a bed.  After a couple of nights of floor sleeping a bed will feel good.

Day 4: Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Farmington to Livermore Falls

  • Resume walking on Hwy 4 south
  • 2.5 miles Irving station on right
  • 3.1 Burger King on right
  • 5.8 Antique store on left
  • 6.2 First Apostolic Church on right
  • 8.4 Left on Hwy 4 south
  • 9.5 Kawasaki on right
  • 12.4 Jay town dump on right
  • 13.1 Jay historical society on left
  • 14.0 McDonalds on left
  • 15.0 Otis Credit Union on right
  • 16.4 St Rose Catholic on right
  • 16.8 Public library on right
  • Continue past food city
  • Left on Richardson St
  • 17.6 Left to 41 Knapp St on corner of Searles St
  • Host: Fran Szostek

The Magic of the Peace walk in Livermore Falls

The group this morning as we began walking from Farmington to Livermore Falls - an 18 mile day

During our lunch break this local old timer, a WW II vet, came over and talked with us about the insanity of war

During a break just outside of Livermore Falls Veterans For Peace founding member Doug Rawlings rests and holds the VFP flag

Students from University of Maine-Farmington
Photos by Peter Woodruff and Nate Goldshlag

We made it to Livermore Falls by about 4:00 pm - after our 8:30 am start this morning in Farmington.  Several students from the University of Maine-Farmington Amnesty International club joined us for the first nine miles.  They were strong walkers and helped carry our lead banner and signs.  It was good to have some fresh walkers as the regulars are all getting tired. Lots of sore feet and blisters are now appearing.

Last night we were all divided up to go to various homes for a shower and a bed.  Mary Beth and I went to a log cabin in the woods. Very wonderful hosts and a lovely old cabin.

Livermore Falls was the hardest town to find a place for us to stay.  As of just days ago we had nothing then thanks to an email out of the blue we heard from someone 'who knew someone in Livermore Falls' and I called them and asked if they could help us.  Just like that they agreed to host us in their big house and so here we are.  We've taken over the entire second floor and miraculously they have mattresses for each of us that have filled up three otherwise empty bedrooms.  Once again, the magic of the peace walk.

Our hosts made a huge salad for us and we've ordered five pizzas to round out our dinner.

In the morning we head to Lewiston where we will stay at an Episcopal Church for the night.  Some time tomorrow we will be joined by another Buddhist monk and a nun.  People come and go each day but as of right now we have 13 of us here in Livermore Falls.

Click here and see below good walk coverage in popular Farmington media outlet.

October 14 - Farmington to Livermore
From Daily Bulldog - by Bobbie Hansten

Peter Cook of Starks carries the "Walk for Peace and Sustainable Future" sign followed by more than a dozen participants as they cross Center Bridge in Farmington on their way eventually to end in North Berwick.

Rev. Senji Kanaeda of the Nipponzan Myohoji Temple of Seattle, leads the peace walk on Tuesday from Farmington.

FARMINGTON - Led by a Buddhist monk beating a drum, the group of a dozen or more were greeted by the honking horns of passing motorists as they crossed Center Bridge on Tuesday morning.

Acknowledgement from the walkers carrying signs that said, "Bring our war $$ home," and "Fix broken Maine-no more war $" came with a wave as they continued along busy Wilton Road on their way south to eventually arrive in North Berwick.

This is the fourth year the Veterans For Peace members have organized a peace walk through Maine as a way to highlight the idea that an enormous amount of money is spent on military defense in the U.S., while basic infrastructure needs such as schools, roads, bridges and buildings, along with social services that help people continue to be under-funded. The group, which will grow in numbers to as many as 100 as it nears Portland, will walk between 15 and 30 miles a day.

The war-based economy creates fewer jobs than infrastructure fixes and largely "benefits weapons companies and we don't see an end to it," said Bruce Gagnon of Bath, a member of Veterans For Peace who has organized the annual Maine Walk for Peace and a Sustainable Future each year.

Using different routes through the state each time, Gagnon said this year's goal of the walk is to connect various communities that have become reliant on military production for jobs.

The group began their trek by gathering in Bath, where Bath Iron Works builds U.S. Navy destroyers. About 15 people, led by Rev. Senji Kanaeda of the Nipponzan Myohoji Temple Buddhist Order in Seattle, then traveled to Rangeley on Saturday where they were invited to a community supper with 150 people attending at the Rangeley UCC Church.

"There was a good discussion and singing. Senji sings beautiful spirituals," Gagnon said and added, "The reception was very good." The walkers spent the night at the church, as they often do as they reach other towns on their way south.

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

Rangeley was chosen as a stop as part of the estimated 165-mile walk, after it was announced this summer that it was one of four sites under consideration for construction of a $4 billion missile defense interceptor base. Also on the route is Saco, where General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical Systems was awarded a multimillion dollar contract to build gun barrel kits for the Army. The end point in North Berwick scheduled for Oct. 20, is home to Pratt Whitney, which has a $2 billion contract to build F-35 strike fighter engines, According to the group's website. Those military contracts taken together make up almost 10 percent of Maine’s gross domestic product.

Sunday night, the group stayed at the Phillips Area Community Center. A community supper and program was held that included music, with several local residents attending to participate in the discussion. Last night, a potluck supper was held at the Old South Church in Farmington and then the walkers stayed at area homes for the night.

Doug Rawlings of Chesterville, a founding member of Veterans For Peace, which now has chapters in every state and a few countries, said they hand out flyers to those along the route who ask why they're walking.

"Many are curious and ask, 'what is this,'" Rawlings said, especially when a yellow-robed monk beating a drum is leading the way. "For the most part, we've received very positive responses."

At about 8:30 a.m. the group representing a range of ages was joined by four University of Maine at Farmington students who are members of the Amnesty Club on campus. Signs were passed out and in single file they headed across Main Street and south towards tonight's goal of Livermore Falls.

See their schedule here.

Day 5: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Livermore Falls to Lewiston

  • Begin at Public library in Livermore Falls
  • Continue south on Hwy 4 with immediate right onto Hwy 4
  • 3.1 miles Baptist church on right
  • 7.2 Window Outlet on left
  • Stop walking and shuttle to 21.9 mile mark
  • 7.7 Beach on right
  • 9.3 Tri-County Auto on right
  • 11.9 Goodwin Well on right
  • 15.4 Murrays Trucks on right
  • 17.7 Hannaford’s on right
  • 19.8 Auto Deal on right
  • 21.9 Citgo on right (Lunch stop)
  • Resume walking here
  • 25.0 Bridge/lake on right (Auburn city line)
  • 25.6 Auburn lake wayside
  • 27.5 Cross under overpass
  • 29.1 Turn left on E
  • 202 (Downtown Auburn) Key Bank on left
  • 29.2 Cross bridge
  • 29.6 Right on Park St
  • 30.0 Left on Spruce St
  • 30.1 Trinity Episcopal Church on right
  • Pot luck supper and sleep at church
  • Host: Nancy Chandler

Truckin into Lewiston

We arrived in Lewiston about 4:30 pm today - a hard 18 miles.  The first half was through the rural rolling hills and was lovely walking.  Many truckers flying by waved or blasted their horns.  It seemed like today we had more responses from truckers than usual. The last half of the walk was city with much traffic, noise, impatient drivers and all that goes with it.  A man on a motorcyle had an accident right by us at one point and seemed to have been quite injured.  A traffic jam caused many cars to stop and he tried to change lanes and clipped another car and then crashed onto the sidewalk just behind me.  I'm actually lucky I didn't get hit.

At lunch we were joined by another Buddhist monk from Massachusetts and Jun-san the Japanese nun based in New York.  Then a bit later we saw a man walking down the opposite side of the road toward us and he joined the walk.  He had seen the front page coverage about the walk in the weekly newspaper in Gray about a week ago.  He's going to walk with us for a couple of days.  Then a bit later two more people unexpected popped up and joined in.  So by the time we got into Lewiston we had a nice sized group.

Lewiston has many African immigrants and as we neared the beautiful Kennedy Park in the downtown area we were given much support by the many people in the park.  Maine is such a white state so it was a wonderful thing to see all these people of color giving us such good feedback.  A really wonderful experience.

We are being hosted by the Episcopal Church and will have a supper here and sleep on the floor.  In the morning we head to Gray for a Methodist Church and another hard floor.

While at our lunch spot today I was interviewed by WERU radio and have already had a phone call from a friend who heard the program and was pleased with it.

Day 6: Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lewiston to Gray

  • Start at church on Spruce St past Park St
  • Right on Lisbon St
  • .6 miles Left onto Hwy 202 west (Main Street)
  • .8 Over bridge to Auburn
  • .9 Right on Turner (at Key Bank)
  • 1.2 Under rusty bridge
  • 1.3 Sharp Left on Union (west on Hwy 202/4 south) Irving station on right
  • 2.7 Left on Hwy 202/4 (Washington – bear right)
  • 3.0 Connectivity Point on right
  • 6.3 Michaud Trailers on right
  • 7.0 Irving station on right
  • 8.8 New Gloucester welcome sign on right
  • 10.1 AmVets Post on left
  • 12.2 Farm stand on right
  • 15.1 Will & Laney’s Firewood & greenhouse on right
  • 15.9 Gray town line
  • 18.1 Crossroads church on left
  • American Legion on right
  • 18.3 City hall on left
  • 18.7 Main & Shaker St traffic light
  • Start out going southwest on Yarmouth Rd/ME-4/ME-115 toward W Gray  Rd/US-202 W. Continue to follow ME-4/ME-115. (1.5 miles)
  • Good Shepherd United Methodist Church for supper and stay at 151 W. Gray Road
  • Host: Allison & Simon Hartman Adam

Rain, Bears & Doughnuts

Today we walked through rain for most of our 13 miles from Lewiston to Gray.  We shuttled about five miles in the middle to avoid a bunch of road construction and a huge downpour.  Since we arrived early in Gray our folks are chillin at the local McDonald's, Dunkin Doughnuts or the small town library for a couple of hours.  I'm in the McCafe which has free Internet but no electric outlet so my time is limited.  (The motto here appears to be keep the folks moving in and out - electrical plugs keep the seats filled for too long.)

There is a big bear hunting referendum in Maine on November 4 that if passed would not allow 'hunters' to use bait, traps and hound dogs to hunt for bears.  One of the primary items used to bait the bears are barrels of doughnuts that are put in the woods and when the bears come to eat them they step in traps and tourist hunters then come and shoot them.

The Maine state wildlife department biologists support the present system and maintain that in order to keep the bear population at manageable levels we must allow baiting and such.  All along our walk we've seen a flurry of signs opposing the referendum which would ban bear baiting.  Amazingly there is a whole big business that has sprung up trucking day old doughnuts from Massachusetts to Maine for the operation. Bears and doughnuts are big biz!

You can imagine that when a group of walkers get tired they make jokes to keep from getting grumpy.  So the bear-doughnut story has been our constant joke during the walk.  Our friend and photographer Peter Woodruff keeps buying 'bear bait' when we stop at some local truck stop for a break.  This morning Maine Veterans For Peace member Peggy Akers came to the church in Lewiston where we slept last night and unsuspectingly brought us a box of bear bait.

If one was to judge just by the campaign signs the bear bait ban referendum will be rejected overwhelmingly. 

If you were similarly judging the race for governor then incumbent Tea Party Republican Paul LePage would also win by a landslide.  As one friend pointed out earlier this week the Republicans have won the sign wars this year.

Day 7: Friday, October 17, 2014

Gray to Portland

  • Begin at Maine & Shaker Streets traffic light
  • Bear left on Hwy 26/100 to Portland
  • 3.0 miles Bush Bee cabins on right
  • 6.0 Church on left
  • 7.0 White barn on left
  • 9.0 Green sign homestead on right
  • 10.2 Marmin’s lunch
  • 11.2 Portland north business park on right
  • 11.7 Portland city limits
  • 12.3 North Deering Vet hospital on right
  • 13.3 Northgate Plaza on left
  • 13.5 Left at Allen Ave /Washington intersection
  • 13.9 Allen Avenue Unitraian Church on left for pot luck supper
  • Home stays for two nights
  • Host: Bruce Gagnon

Video from the Peace Walk

Video by Vietnam veteran Eric Herter from Brunswick. Day six of the walk from Rangeley to North Berwick. This day was from Lewiston to Gray.

Cars, Oil & Endless War

Walking along the road slows everything down.  Today I noticed a bird at the top of a tree on the other side of the road singing as we passed by.  We heard a big pack of dogs at a 'doggie daycare' howling as we went by - they were pleading to come along with us but the chain link fence prevented their act of solidarity.  Four graceful and powerful horses moved in unison as they intently watched us pass them by.  We were hosted for lunch by an organic farm family that gave us fresh tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, melons and a comfortable place to relax under a warm sunny sky.

But the overwhelming thing we have experienced during the walk is the car culture.  Cars and trucks zoom by us and rarely slow down even though we have our red flag waving ahead of the walk.  Everyone is in a hurry and god forbid they have to slow down for fifteen seconds because of this unusual band of people walking along the highway.

Today as I walked I made a point of looking for signs of this dominant car culture that so completely engulfs us.  Here we are in the US with 5% of the world population using 25% of the planet's resources.  We like our cars and we like them big!

Along the way I could see why we are in a constant state of war - because our entire way of life - our economy - our entire identity and being is wrapped up in the car culture.  As I walked I scribbled down the following signs of this addiction to the automobile:

  • Car insurance agencies
  • Auto detailing shops
  • Auto repair shops
  • Auto sales dealers
  • Auto body shops
  • Disabled van renovation shop
  • Auto parts stores
  • Gas stations
  • Truck stops
  • Road paving companies
  • Drive thru lanes at fast food outlets
  • Road crossing guards at schools
  • Expensive bridges over rivers

I know I must have missed some but you get the idea.  There is no enterprise in rural or urban Maine that is more pervasive than the automobile related industry.

Most people say they want to end wars though we keep using our cars.  We are all responsible for endless war.

We are killing people all over the world because we 'love our cars' more than we love our planet or the people living on it.

Update: WERU radio here in Maine covered the walk and you can listen here.  Also the Biddeford Courier ran a nice story here

Day 8: Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rest Day

Day 9: Sunday, October 19, 2014

Portland to Saco

  • Meet at Monument Square on Congress Street in downtown Portland at 8:30 am
  • 0.3 Pass Congress & High Streets
  • 0.5 Congress St to State St (Hwy 77 South) and turn left
  • 0.7 Mercy Hospital on right
  • 1.0 Over bridge into South Portland (walk on left side)
  • 2.1 Right on Broadway
  • 2.4 Laundromat on left
  • 3.3 Amato’s on left
  • 4.0 Left onto Hwy 1 by Uhaul (on left)
  • 4.1 Dairy Queen on right
  • 6.3 Elevation Center/Medical Clinic on right (road splits for short while)
  • 8.6 Scarborough Downs on right
  • 9.2 Irving station on right
  • 9.6 Cross salt marsh
  • 11.1 Cemetery on right
  • 12.0 York County/Saco line
  • 14.5 Funtown Splashtown on right
  • 15.1 Silver Spring Camping on left
  • 15.7 Green highway overpass
  • 16.6 At road split, church on left corner at lights
  • First Parish Congregation Church on corner of Beech & Maine pot luck supper
  • Home stays
  • Host: Tom Kircher

Peace Walk Arrives in Saco

We walked 17 miles today from downtown Portland to Saco where the UCC church will host a pot luck supper and provide home stays for all of us.  Bob Klotz, a leader of Maine 350.org, did the first three miles with us and took this photo. and some others that he posted on Facebook.

Also this morning, just as we were starting from Monument Square in Portland, a woman from Montana saw us and walked two miles with us.  She is in Maine on vacation.  Surprisingly she just turned up at the church here in Saco and is going to walk with us tomorrow.

We are expecting a large group of Veterans For Peace from the Boston area to arrive here this evening.  They plan to join the pot luck supper tonight and walk with us tomorrow as well.  Several others who have walked with us earlier in the week will also come back for the final day.

After the vigil at Pratt Whitney we will be hosted for dinner by our friends Karen Wainberg and Brown Lathem who live in North Berwick.

Day 10: Monday, October 19, 2014

Saco to North Berwick

  • Meet at church corner Beech & Main
  • Resume walking on Rt 9 south to Biddeford
  • .7 miles over bridge to Biddeford
  • Thru downtown
  • 1.2 Left at light (Junction Hwy 1)
  • 2.3 Cemetery on left
  • 3.1 Another cemetery on left
  • 6.0 All Safe storage on left
  • 8.4 Citgo on right
  • 8.7 Kennebunk town line on right
  • 9.0 Hannaford on left
  • Shuttle from here to 20.1 mile mark
  • 9.9 Bear right on Hwy 1
  • 10.5 New School on left
  • 12.1 Filtration plant
  • 12.3 Wells town line
  • Full service gas sign on right
  • 15.2 Turn right on Hwy 9 west at light
  • 17.3 Left on Hwy 9 to North Berwick
  • 20.1 Golf range on left
  • 21.6 Richard’s restaurant on left (park cars here)
  • Resume walking from here
  • 23.7 Pratt Whitney factory on right
  • 3:00-5:00 pm vigil at gates
  • Dinner at local home at 5:30 pm
  • Continue past Pratt Whitney on Hwy 9
  • At Junction Hwy 9 & 4 take left at light
  • Go few blocks and take Hwy 9 split to right
  • Go approximately 5 miles
  • White house on left just beyond Alpaca farm
  • 3 Mayberry Lane
  • Host: Karen Wainberg & Brown Lethem

Pratt-Whitney, North Berwick

Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns drumming and chanting at Pratt-Whitney F-35 fighter engine facility.  We learned that the company moved to North Berwick in order to get rid of the union at their previous location.  There is still no union at the Berwick weapons plant

October 20, 2014 - Images of the People

The core walkers

One of our best lunch spots during the walk

Home now after our big finish at Pratt-Whitney in North Berwick.  We walked from the UCC church in Saco where we were hosted last night in a supper of more than 50 people....music by church members, great food, words and music from walkers.  Then this morning the church minister and his staff (about 7 in all) walked nine miles with us.  Walking with us too were a good bunch of Veterans For Peace (VFP) members from Massachusetts so our walking line was impressive - particularly with the white VFP flags. 

As we walked the last two miles to Pratt-Whitney (where they are building the expensive F-35 fighter jet engines) the many cars going by were more supportive than I would have expected so close to a military industrial facility. One local man rode up on his bicycle to join us - he lives next door to the weapons production plant.

The wayward boondoggle at Pratt-Whitney will cost the taxpayers more than $1 trillion (I can't imagine that sum.) 

Overall I feel that Mainers are fed up with war.  They just don't see any way out - they don't trust that the politicians will do a damn thing about it. 

I don't yet have photos from the last two days so pulled out these above from a couple of days ago.  The top picture is of our core walking group. Here are a few other mental images from the walk:

  • Don from New Jersey drove a truck for a living and since he retired is doing some peace walks.  His best moments were when he carried our red warning flag ahead of us on country roads and would bow to truckers with hat in hand.  He got us alot of honks.
  • We handed out 1,000 flyers along the walk.  It was a working community - people carried signs and helped with the extra walking it took to take flyers to people we passed along the way.  Morgana from Maine was an incredible help in this distribution.  She worked on her fear of rejection in the process and got better at it as we went along.
  • Sally from Maine helped host us in Portland and then showed up today in North Berwick for the protest at Pratt-Whitney.  She has been fighting cancer for several years and pushed her walker across the street in front of the weapons plant several times - once stopping the guys in monster trucks as they left work in a hurry during the 3:30 pm shift change.  There is fierce love and determination in this woman who originally hails from the lone star state (Texas).
  • It was an honor to have several of the young vets from VFP in Massachusetts who walked with us today.  One read two poems last night at the church in Saco. They say they want to come back next year.
  • Music every night helped unite us and inspire us.
  • Lots of donations of apples along the way.  Our lunches were simple peanut butter, bread, cheese, and any left overs from the night before.
  • Two little girls outside of Saco as we approached town yesterday inspired me with their enthusiasm and love.  It's like they were watching the circus come into town and they were jumping for joy and cheering us on.
  • A woman tourist from Montana joined us for two days and threw in like she was part of the family.  She gave a massage to Jun-san the Buddhist nun, handed out flyers on the opposite side of the street in Biddeford, and carried the lead banner for a few miles.  She kept saying, "If I'd only known....."
  • The former mayor of Biddeford heard the drumming this morning as we walked past her house and came running out to cheer us on.  A few years ago while mayor she invited our whole walking group into her office to talk politics.
  • Many of the faces inside the cars, stopped at traffic lights, who refused to take a flyer still appear in my mind.  They watched us walk by and their mental gears were turning.  I wonder what they were thinking?
  • The many honks, cheers, thumbs up, waves, and peace signs from folks driving by was always like a warm mug of cider on a cold night. The largest percentage of them were younger folks.
  • If you want to have contact with the people of America trying walking across the highways.  They are in their cars.
  • The guys at a hard, dirty job site this morning that I approached as they sat outside at picnic tables during their break time touched my heart.  They looked worn out, poor, forlorn, but took the flyers I offered them and said, "Rangeley to Berwick....that's a long way."  Many people said that to us and I knew they would read the flyer and talk to each other about it....and they would understand.
  • Up and down the highway for 125 miles some folks took a ride with us - even for a brief moment - they were swept away in the moving Occupy movement.  It was fun and satisfying.  And I even gained one pound.

Photos by Peter Woodruff

October 21, 2014 -
More Walk Photos by Peter Woodruff

Walking from Saco to Pratt-Whitney

Rosemary from Montana carries the banner

Starr embracing the return of Dud Hendrick

Lunch stop in Kennebunk

Sally Breen calling the local media

The banner returns

VFP members from Massachusetts

The whole gang at the end


Home Page