Well, the Maine Peace Walk ended almost a month ago, on October 21st. Like other Maine Peace Walks that I have been involved in, this one was well worth doing. Although it is difficult to measure these things, I'd say it was pretty successful in sparking numerous conversations in the greater Bath community around the subject of the need to convert Bath Iron Works (BIW) from producing weapons of mass destruction to producing products that actually serve life, and might help us deal with genuine threats to our national and global security such as climate change and other forms of environmental destruction. In the photo above, taken the evening before the Walk's official start, good friends Jason (left) and Bruce (right) helping with hanging the banner on the Walk support van.
One of our early morning vigils at BIW. We did these vigils twice a day, both times during a shift change of the workers.
Here, Bruce Gagnon, the inspirational guy who years ago initiated the Maine Peace Walks, and who is still the driving force behind them (and so much more...see his blog at http://space4peace.blogspot.com/ ) stands in front of BIW during an afternoon vigil. You can see some of the workers gathering behind the gate, waiting for the horn to announce the end of their work day. A few moments after this photo was taken, the horn blasted and hundreds of workers came streaming out of the gate. Bruce and others offered the workers our flyers, which outlined the reasons why we need to convert BIW from building more weapons for ever more wars, to building things like high speed rail, wind turbines and solar arrays. Most of the workers refused them, but some would take them each vigil. While many of the workers clearly didn't like us being there, I have little doubt that many would in fact prefer to be making things other than these death ships.
During the Walk, we not only handed out flyers to the BIW workers, but we also left our flyers at every residence and business in the city of Bath. Here, Bruce and Liz McAlister, set to go a-flyering on Bruce's scooter.
The Walk support van, with Maka the dolphin on top, in front of BIW. Looking between the two buildings, you can see two of BIW's products; Navy Aegis destroyers. And that is what they are...DESTROYERS, in the truest sense of the word.
Another good friend...Joyakgol, who came over from Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea to join the Walk. Joyakgol came in part to share his first hand experience of the ongoing struggle of the people of Gangjeong to resist militarism (see http://savejejunow.org/) which is having such a negative impact on the village, the region, and the world. Gangjeong is now the site of a navy base (built to US Navy specs), where US Navy warships, some of which were built at BIW, now port. The villagers and their supporters have been non-violently resisting the construction, and now the operation, of this base for over ten years now, in a truly heroic struggle. Joyakgol also shares with me a passion for protecting our oceans and the whales and dolphins, and has an organization named Hot Pink Dolphins, which does great work! Go Joyakgol!
One of the high points of the Walk for me was the gorgeous blue-skied day we walked from Bath to Brunswick, along the way vigiling outside two other BIW facilities. Here, 80 year old John runs up and down the line of Walkers carrying the Veterans For Peace flag, while we all cheer him on, a custom that Joyakgol shared with us all that is done by the peace walkers on Jeju Island in their annual Grand March For Life and Peace. Go John!