The Great Peace March
Holly Near, 1986
Katherine Hendrix from the Los Angeles Times Wrote: “The Vision that on March 1, 1986 5,000 Americans would set out on foot from Los Angeles for Washington, walking across the country for global disarmament. They would reach some 65,000,000 Americans along the way, creating in them—and in the Americans along the way—the political climate necessary to bring about their goal.”
“One hundred thousand would cheer their send off at a rock concert at a LA Coliseum. One million would join them on the outskirts of Washington on November 14 and March into the capital. Then, having compiled a computerized list of 10 million names gathered across the country from the sponsoring organization—Pro Peace or People Reaching Out For Peace—would be ready to call for massive civil disobedience and to take the march overseas, if those dramatic steps seemed necessary. In the words of Pro Peace founder David Mixner, ‘To bring those suckers down!’
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step—Lao Tse.
When I think of what I used to care about, like washing my hair daily and blow drying it, I can only shake my head one marcher said.
At the sendoff some of the young ones came out of school, did cartwheels and yelled “YEAH PEACE!”
Rain added to the woes after the Mojave Desert storm in California. We joined hands in solidarity when we were abandoned at the Stoddard Wells Road in the Mojave. If we stand silent in the face of the arms race, we must share the responsibility for the outcome. Silence counts.
“Dear Friends: I thank you for going through the Peace March. It takes a real generous person to do what you are doing. I will keep hope as much as I can by keeping some peace. I hope you make it. Go for it!” ~Todd Stump, Grade 5 in North Central School in Barstow, California.
“The first thing the march did was to inspire hope again. Second it gave me a vision of what community is and the potential of human beings. Third, it pushed me to further explore the connection between peace and my life and peace the world.” Steve Brigham, Marcher
November 15, 1986, Camilla Taylor, a 15 year old who began the Peace Petition when she was 12 years old called Regan and Gorbachev to listen to the children. “We will not let ourselves be brushed aside,” she said.
John Gordon wanted to march, but couldn’t. He had cancer and not time live, but he wrote: “Mr. President, we do NOT need more nuclear weapons. What we do need it is new clear thinking. Mr. President you are a descent and honorable man, but you are wrong when you say communism is the enemy. Communism is NOT the enemy. Hunger is the enemy and we can alleviate the hunger by sharing more of our bounty with the under nourished world, for we are a human family. Mr. President Socialism is not the enemy. Mr. President, Marxism is not the enemy. Leninism is not the enemy. Poverty and illiteracy is not the enemy. And we can redirect our resources and intellect toward the eradication of these twin scourges that make life so hopeless for so many, for we are a human family. Mr. President, Other nations, races and religions are not the enemy. Intolerance is the enemy. And we must learn to understand and respect diversity, for we are one human family. We have met an enemy and he is us. But with new clear thinking, Mr. President, we can overcome all the enemies without going to war. Only then can we truly call ourselves civilized. Soviets are not an enemy, they are an excuse for making money” ~Dr. Helen Calicott
The Great Peace March is now totally democratic. It is run by the people. Everything is done by consensus. It may take us six days to decide to decide where to park the porta potty, but everything is a group decision. ~Lee Bush, Marcher
Whiskey Pete’s had a great breakfast, eggs, home fries and toast for 95 cents. There was a trucker at the lunch counter and we talked mostly about why we were marching. When he got up to leave, he pushed crumpled up dollars bills into my hand and said, “I’ve got kids. You keep going.”
I have a 8 year old that is very gung ho about war. The march being here gave me an opportunity to discuss the other side of the issues with him. ~Geraldine Zarade in NV
If you guys can put me out of a job that would be great. ~US Army Colonel talking with a Marcher.
Today the only way to achieve genuine national defense for any nation is for all nations to give up violence all together. ~Jonathan Schuell The Fate of the Earth
It is false to talk of peace while possessing weapons destined to take life. When we talk of peace, we must lay down all murderous tools. ~Buddhist Chant
People wrote poems, worked on journals or on songs and letters.
Nonviolence does not mean meek submission to the evildoer, but it means putting one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. ~Gandhi
Everybody worked hard in peace city. Maintenance was a grueling job for the two mechanics. Food had to be cooked by two people for large groups of people.
Waging peace in this country takes a lot more guts than raging war. ~Ralph Nader
Peace is the most important problem in the world today. I can’t think of anything more important than what you are doing. ~Father Theodore Hesburg, President of Notre Dam
Hi Carilynn, I am looking for a photo of the Great March for Peace that I might be able to use. Since it happened in the 1980s, it’s not easy to find photos. Would you please contact me? Thank you so much. I really enjoyed this post.