Controversial Commencement Address by Author John Grisham Helps Inspire Five Day Peace March
On Thursday, May 24th, Nicholas Kimbrell, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, will begin a five day march from Charlottesville, VA to Washington D.C. to protest the war in Iraq. The walk will begin at UVa's storied Rotunda and end Monday evening at the White House.
Inspired by John Grisham¹s controversial commencement day speech to the UVa graduates of 2007, Kimbrell has chosen a Memorial March to illustrate his and a majority of Americans' steadfast opposition to the violence in Iraq. Grisham spoke of the "fifty-eight thousand boxes" that returned from Vietnam; and in his second of three lessons urged, "When politicians get the itch to go to war, don't believe what they say."
Recognizing that the time to challenge the Bush administration's initial claims to invade Iraq has long passed, Kimbrell has chosen to walk the hundred and twenty-five miles from Charlottesville to Washington to protest the war's continuation and escalation. "From the very beginning," argues Kimbrell, "this conflict has been mired in a web of falsity and deceit. We bear the responsibility to end this war, to end our participation in this poorly planned and improvised campaign of violence, to stop our military's little-supervised and wasteful spending, and to repair our nation's unprecedented fall from international grace."
Kimbrell, a co-founder of Virginia's Students for Peace in Iraq, hopes to demonstrate that beyond the daily sacrifices of our troops, their families, and the most devoted anti-war activists, all Americans must begin to talk, walk, and fight for peace. "We already have 3,422 boxes," says Kimbrell, "as nation of individuals we are directly responsible for each additional life American and Iraqi taken in this cataclysmic misadventure. As a recent graduate, I'd like my first steps forward to be the small but difficult steps towards peace."
Kimbrell, born in New York City and raised in Arlington, VA, graduated with high distinction from the University of Virginia in 2006. On May 20th, he received his master's degree in English Literature. He plans to move to Beirut, Lebanon this fall.