Thursday, September 20, 2007

A big footnote to the preceding

A week ago Monday, on September 10, right on schedule, Ashley Casale and Michael Israel, who I previously wrote about back in August, completed their four-month, 3000-mile cross-country walk to protest the Iraq War.
[L]ooking cheerful despite their disintegrating shoes [they] ended their pilgrimage amid a group of 20 supporters who helped them silently hoist a "March for Peace" banner in front of the White House[, the Chicago Tribune reported].

The teens acknowledged that their march might not have changed the course of the war, or gained much of the nation's attention, but they hoped they had at least galvanized the people they met along the way. ...

Though they had once hoped to rouse the nation and inspire thousands to rise up in opposition to the war, Casale and Israel walked for weeks alone through the Nevada desert and over the Rocky Mountains. They eventually enlisted six other long-distance traveling companions, five who trudged through the grueling 25-mile daily hikes and a sixth person who drove a support car. But the teens met countless others who offered free meals, new pairs of shoes, shelter for the night or just an encouraging word. "The most important thing was the individuals we talked to," said Casale.
For his part, Israel, talking by phone to his California hometown newspaper, said the pair encountered random, angry shouts but on the whole,
the group experienced encouraging reactions including the day they walked into one Colorado town and were stopped "every five minutes" to receive well-wishes from supporters. As more people found out about the marchers' quest, they opened their homes and offered beds for the night. Others drove alongside with food and water on hand or provide additional supplies.
Wisely, Israel doesn't expect the march to turn things around.
"I don't think a few people walking across the United States is enough to get the U.S. government to end war in Iraq," Israel said, but added that he hopes Americans take a more proactive role in the decisions that effect them instead of leaving it up to lawmakers. ...

"Any small thing an individual can do to make the world a better place, that's what counts," Israel said. "When people start thinking like that, it can make a big difference."
Seems to me I said that a while back, the poster said with a smile.

By the way, the marchers followed up by participating in a 20-hour vigil at the Capitol punctuated by occupying Nancy Pelosi's office for seven hours in an attempt to deliver 4000 postcards calling for impeachment. Other stuff about the march, including links to press coverage along the way, is at its home page.

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