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Sam’s Ride for Peace Day 4 Tuesday, May 2nd
With a warm farewell greeting from Chuck and Lynn Peple, Sam, Joe and Fred pedaled north toward Culpeper. The original 7, who launched Sam’s 7 day, 360 mile Ride for Peace from the NC Capital in Raleigh on Sunday had been reduced to 3, then bolstered by Micky Dee who caught up on Tuesday. But Micky returned home to North Carolina, and now there were three riders.
Faithful Bert drove the caboose caution vehicle for the 4th day in a row. Bert had dreaded the slow (2-20 mph) 7 day drive, but found the slow speed enjoyable. Driving or riding some of the most beautiful countryside in the east can best be appreciated slowly. But these are dangerous roads for bicycles, and we thank Bert Gurganus for his steadfast attention to the safety of the riders.
I drove ahead to Culpeper and parked in front of the Visitor Center at the train depot. George De Serres was just getting out of his car in the next parking space. He looked at the sign on my car and asked: “Are you with Sam?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’m with Sam!”
George and I had not met until that moment, but his wife Elizabeth had volunteered to host Sam in Culpeper. So he knew about the Ride for Peace. George is a Viet Nam vet who leads annual tours to Viet Nam. George didn’t think Veterans for Peace would find many friends in Culpeper, but, as a former helicopter pilot, he’s not shy about expressing his opinions. One good suggestion was to talk to Allison Champion a writer for the Culpeper Star Exponent. She had covered George’s Viet Nam trips.
Allison responded eagerly to the invitation to interview Sam, and brought a photographer to the Red Carpet Inn when Sam & Company landed in Culpeper. When Allison asked me why I supported Sam’s Ride for Peace, I told her that I was impressed with his sincerity.
And what did we hope to accomplish?
If an 86 year old man can ride a bicycle 360 miles for peace, then maybe a 70 year old can write a letter. Maybe a 60 year old will carry a sign. Maybe a 50 year old will organize a Bring the War Dollars Home campaign. Maybe a 40 year old will convince a candidate for military service to transform military training from killing to protecting. Maybe a 30 year old will run for Congress. Maybe a 20 year old will join in the joy of a revolution to convert our predatory, militaristic economy into one that is designed to serve human needs within a community of nations.
Sam’s 15 year old great grandson Aidan rejoined the ride tonight. Aidan bicycled the 2-day Middleburg to DC trial run with Sam and Joe last month, so he has good experience and is a savvy rider. Sam seems to be to be getting stronger each day. But with Aidan on tomorrow’s Ride for Peace, Sam & Company will have some extra incentive.
In the More good news department, Jean Athey, Michael McPhearson, and David Swanson are confirmed as speakers when the Ride for Peace arrives at Lafayette Park in Washington DC at 2:00pm on Saturday. And balladeer extraordinaire Andrew McKnight may be able to join us Thursday night in Middleburg.
Reporting by John Heuer
More info, photos and previous reports at www.ncveteransforpeace.org