We marched somewhere between 17 and 19 miles today. I think that is the farthest I’ve ever walked in a single day. It hurt more than I expected but I should have been aware of the kind of shape I was in.
I have spoken to so many amazing people along the way and I am humbled and honored to be able to march with them.
There is a Buddhist Nun with a drum ministry. She does peace work all over the world and takes her drum and sings in march after march. It is easier to keep going with someone beating a drum to keep time. When she found out I live in Guam, she told me about the work she had done and continues to do to resist the militarization of Okinawa.
There is an Apache Medicine Man. He is also a Vietnam war vet. He had a fever after the second day and has bad knees. Yesterday he rode along with us. He offered a prayer for us at the beginning of the day and met us every mile or so and blew his conch shell to cheer us on and inspire everyone to keep going. To understand what 500 years of oppression feels like and still have the energy to fight for change is a very hopeful act.
There is an Aztec woman who will break your heart with her story. She can tell you of the abuses piled on to her and her family as an indigenous person and an immigrant and still tell you how proud she was today to carry the American flag as we marched. To chose to be here and choose love is incredibly brave and hopeful.
There are several Vietnam, Gulf War I and Gulf War II vets marching. We signed up to fight for our democracy once and now it is slipping from our hands with voter suppression and big corporations commanding inordinate power within our political system. Some of us struggle to use words of love when we talk about going to Washington and feel it easier to express our struggle in the familiar terms of battle.
There are more than a few marchers in their 60’s and 70’s who marched with Dr King and the civil rights movement. To be out here marching with us after so many years is hopeful. With so many inspiring people I am moved. Our democracy as something worth struggling for.