Veterans for Peace to walk through Bangor

Posted Oct. 27, 2010, at 12:55 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The organization Veterans for Peace is organizing a peace walk through the state, called the Maine Walk for Peace, Human Needs, and Veterans’ Care, Nov. 2-11.

The walk, which begins on Nov. 2 in Farmington with an election night forum to remind the public of the costs of war, will include overnight stops in Skowhegan, Waterville, Bangor, Belfast, Rockland, Bath and Freeport. It will conclude on Nov. 11 in Portland, where participants will take part in the Veterans Day parade.

The walk will be led by Buddhist monk the Rev. Gyoway Kato, who is with the Nipponzan Myohoji order, which does peace walks all over the world. Last April, Kato led a similar walk through Maine calling for an end to the nuclear arms race.

The public is invited to welcome the walkers 3-4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, as they arrive at Paul Bunyan Park in Bangor. A public potluck supper and discussion with the walkers will follow from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 234 French St. in Bangor.

The community also is invited to join a sendoff event 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine at 170 Park St. in Bangor.

Those who want to may join the walk for a mile or so as it moves on to Belfast. Shuttles will be available.

During the walk, Veterans for Peace members want to hear from Mainers whose lives, families and communities have been affected by the recent wars in the Middle East.

“We want to carry their narratives with us as we walk,” member Doug Rawlings said in announcing the event.

“We want to share them with Congressman Michaud and Congresswoman Pingree, with Senator Collins and with Senator Snowe,” he said. “And we want to rebuild the social contract in this state between its citizens and its congressional representatives to ensure that our soldiers’ commitment to serving their country will not be abused and our hard-earned tax dollars not misspent.”

The veterans group pegged the annual war cost for Mainers over the last nine years at nearly $3 billion.

“Perhaps our representatives will listen to us if we take to the streets,” Rawlings said.

For a full walk schedule and registration information, visit http://vfpmaine.org/vfp.htm.

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