We started off the morning at Dunkin Donuts in Adams, NY. We spoke to two of the woman behind the counter, Mandy & Sarah about the walk and they were friendly enough to give Lauren a free coffee (arigatou gozaimas)
As we were leaving the DDs, two men from the air force (in full uniform) came in.
There’s a base in Watertown where some of the drone testing is done. All throughout the rest of the day we saw military convoys, soldiers in civilian cars, and other reminders that we were in town with heavy ties to the military.
After walking for about an hour we wanted to take a rest stop. There were no gas stations around for bathrooms. Andrea noticed a man working outside in his backyard and asked him if we could use his bathroom. He agreed.
He led us up into his house with extreme courtesy. As we were walking out, I noticed an old poster tacked up to the back of his door. It was a picture of Uncle Sam with the caption, “Uncle Sam wants YOU to join the U.S. Army!”.
I figured this man was probably a veteran. It’s always amazing who you meet on the walks.
Once outside, I realized I had forgotten my water bottle in his kitchen. He ran up to get it for me, and returned with water bottles for each of the walkers.
After we left his house we continued on to Watertown. After a lunch break at an abandoned Chevy dealership (where another man had seen us walking and came by to offer a gallon of cold water for us) we marched to the All Souls UU Church of Watertown.
It was a beautiful space. The congregation has a sangha that meets there weekly, a pagan group (and a May Pole) and others of various religious affiliations.
Some of the members of the congregation and friends of the church gathered to have a potluck dinner with us, and to hear a bit about our walk.
We gathered after dinner to share and listen to the stories of those affected by the nuclear industry.
Jun san spoke about the situation in Fukushima, and showed pictures from the book, Children of the Gulf War.
The walkers shared a bit about why they decided to walk, what it was that brought them out in the sun for 15 miles a day.
We opened up the space for questions and discussion, and one man shared the story of how he used to be a nuclear weapons designer.
He worked on nuclear warheads that can hold three weapons at once. Once he asked his commander about the event of a nuclear war, the man laughed and told him if it came to that he wouldn’t have to worry, he would already be dead.
Working in a facility where you make the weapons you are in an immediate target zone.
He said, “I realized I didn’t want to be a part of the end of the world.”
They called him a conscientious objector, and he left.
The walk will come back to the All Souls Church tomorrow night, and then head into Canada the 19th.