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by Theresa Bescher
Friday, Jun. 29, 2007 at 10:02 AM
Walking From San Diego, CA to Washington, D.C, Former Minister & Vietnam Era Veteran Journeys Across The Country for Peace.
A five minute video of Bill taken June 23, 2007 is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLIoHKYQM5Y
Having already walked 2500 miles since November 4, 2006, Bill McDannell travels through Indiana during an unusually hot June. With temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees on some days, Bill continues to walk up to 18 miles per day on most days. Why is Bill walking across this nation? Bill says he is a patriotic American citizen who disagrees with the decisions that have been made by a handful of people in power, including the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan by the United States.
Bill McDannel is not a wide eyed kid with a naïve view of the world. A father of five and grandfather of four, he is a Vietnam Era Veteran and former Pastor of the United Methodist Church. He says, "I am only one person, and do not pretend to have the individual wisdom to dictate exactly what actions should take place as a result of a declaration of the end of the wars. In fact, this is the reason I am walking to Washington. I expect it will take me nine or ten months to walk from California to Washington, D.C., and I believe that the leaders who managed to figure out a way to get us into these wars in just a few months ought to be able to figure out a way to get us out by the time I arrive."
Meeting people along the way has given Bill a unique perspective on how the average American citizen views our nation’s international policies. In a journal entry on his website dated June 17, 2007, Bill says, "I've had a chance to meet some of the folks in the park we're staying at tonight - nice people, and probably about as conservative, middle-of-the-heartland as you could hope to find. We talked about what I'm doing and, just like pretty much everyone else I'm running into, they're wishing me godspeed. Like I've been saying, the "anti-war left" is now the ‘disgusted center’ of the country - and the first politician to finally figure this out is going to blow the rest of them out of the water."
Traveling close behind Bill are his wife, Jonna, and two collies, Finn and Spoof. The family travels in an RV that continues to run (thanks to a few mechanics and a lot of prayer along the way). At day’s end, Jonna picks up Bill from his daily walk and they camp out in the RV for the night. The next day, they start the process all over again. They often have trouble finding a place to park while they sleep, but continue to have strangers offer them a flat piece of ground with an electricity source where they can spend the night.
Some people have accused Bill of being insane for walking across the country to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bill says, "I've thought about whether I'm insane or not....and I've decided no, I'm not, as a matter of fact, this may be the most sane thing I've ever done in my life."
Along the route and on his website, Bill McDannell has a petition available for those who wish to sign. Bill and Jonna have financed this trip by selling their house and through numerous donations managed by the San Diego Veterans for peace (donations can be made through his website at http://wtetw.com).
Bill is available for interviews and conversations along the way, and anyone who wants to join him during his walk across the country is welcome to join him in a walk and chat. He says, "I continue to be amazed at the consistent level of caring, insight and authenticity in the people I am meeting along the way. It truly humbles me."
If you would like more information, or to schedule an interview with Bill McDannell, please call Bill at 619-792-5292 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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