Courage to Resist. June 1, 2007. 8:00 pm PST update
SACRAMENTO, CA An Iraq War veteran who insists on remaining anonymous as “only a representative” of his fallen comrades began walking laps around the state capitol building Memorial Day morning at 8:00 am. Fifty-eight hours later, he was still walking. Although some on the scene summed up his condition as a health crisis due in large part to weather extremes, he told supporters he will not rest until he has finished walking laps for every U.S. service person killed in Iraq. March now continuing 8 am to 8 pm daily, others now being asked to help walk all of the names of those killed.
A visibly exhausted veteran of the Iraq War moved into his 5th straight day of circling the State Capitol here Friday to remember U.S. troops killed in Iraq a half-mile loop for each one and to call for an immediate end to the war.
Late Wednesday, he finished doing laps for all 362 California victims of the war after three 24-hour days of making rounds without a night in bed.
Thursday, after his first night of rest, he began walking laps for all other U.S. troops killed in Iraq from the other 49 states. That’s another 3,100 names. As of Thursday night, the veteran had walked a total of about 800 laps, including the 362 from California.
The Iraq veteran has also agreed to let other veterans, parents of troops now in Iraq and others opposed to the war join him and take laps. Each person walking a lap reads a card with personal information about the war casualty, and then posts a yellow ribbon on a growing “Memorial Wall.”
The veteran experienced exhaustion, blisters, extreme hip and back pain that reduced his brisk strides to a painful shuffle, and is now allowing others to join him so that all of the nearly 3,500 U.S. military personnel will be remembered.
Hundreds of supporters, parents of Iraq vets, other veterans from other wars, passers by and people who have just heard of the walk have joined him in the quest. They are also walking for the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by all sides during the war.
The walk will continue from dawn to dusk, or 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week. Come out to support this action! The support staging area is located on L Street at 12th Street.
The Iraq War vet served in Iraq during the initial invasion in 2003 as an Army medic attached to an infantry unit. During yesterdays early morning Memorial Day kick off press conference, and for some of the laps, he was joined by Patrick Sheehan, father of Army Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq in April 2004, and Caseys younger brother Andy. The unnamed vet has been supported by members of Veterans for Peace Chapter 87, Military Families Speak Out, Sacramento Coalition to End the War, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Courage to Resist.
Also Memorial Day morning, three students who set off walking from San Francisco a week prior marched up to the capitol building and joined the vet and supporters for a few solidarity laps. The students are marching to Washington DC to call for an end to the Iraq War. They are now walking along Route 50 to Carson City, Nevada. For more information, see marchforpeace.info.
All photos by Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist 5/28/07 unless otherwise specified.