Long Beach Press-Telegram
Monday, December 19, 2005
Peace at every step
Long Beach: About 50 people
participate in silent walk to
VA hospital Sunday.
By David Rogers
LONG BEACH--About 50 people took part in a silent "Peace Walk" Sunday afternoon to the Veterans Affairs Long Beach Healthcare System, where they meditated for peace.
The walkers moved silently and deliberately for more than half a mile from Don Schubert's home in the 400 block of Margo Avenue. They stopped at the hospital "to give honor to our veterans and to our soldiers who have given their lives in Iraq" before they walked silently back, Schubert said.
Schubert, a volunteer with walk co-organizer Americans for the Department of Peace and the California Peace Alliance, said he was inspired to help organize the walk after he took part in a similar walk Oct. 8 led by Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh around MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. Schubert said that event had a more profound impact on him than a much larger and louder peace march he attended weeks earlier, and that he wanted to make the walks a monthly event in the Greater Los Angeles area.
He said the walk's organizers did not take an official stance on the Iraq war.
"Just about all of us are (individually) again the war in Iraq", he said. "At the same time, our position is (that) we support peace. We're pro-peace as opposed to anti-war."
Steven Vincent, a student of Hanh's and a volunteer for walk co-organizer Peace is Every Step, said he thought they would make a difference: "If we have peace in our own hearts, that's going to be reflected in the would around us", he said. Peace Is Every Step, which is affiliated with Hanh, is organizing the next Peace Walk in Santa Monica next month.
Vincent instructed the walkers on his philosophy behind the walk, and they became nearly silent as he had them concentrate on their breathing. He told them to walk slowly, heel-to-toe, "caressing the earth with the soles of your feet." The walkers wore signs on their chest or back with the word "Peace", which were visible to passing drivers.
That was very interesting and very powerful," said Pat Albison, a military mother with a son in Iraq., who leads the Orange County chapter of Military Families Speak Out and spoke at Schubert's home after the walk. "When we got to the VA hospital, I could just really feel the sadness for the....wounded that have returned to our country. It's very much on my mind and all of our minds every day."