Thursday, March 20, 2008

Walking for Peace

Wassaic to China: A walk for peace

By: Jennifer Barry, Staff Reporter

WASSAIC - On March 20 at 9 a.m., Wassaic will be the launch site of a Walk for Peace.
Danny Garcia, a New York native, will be walking from Wassaic to New York City bearing the message of peace.For there he will then depart to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to embark on a walk across the Middle East to Beijing, China.The World Peace Sanctuary in Wassaic, along with the Global Walk Foundation and the US Freedom Walk Club, will be sponsoring and supporting Garcia on his ambitious walks.Garcia began walking for peace in 1996 and has logged over 24,000 miles to date.

"I needed a way to express how I felt about the things going on in the world today," said Garcia. "I wanted to do something that would bring healing. Walking from city to city and country to country, telling people that I love and care for them and pray for peace in their lives is my way."

"There have been times I've walked alone, just to listen; it's a way of removing all of the internal garbage. Other times, like in Iraq, I've walked with over 20,000 people carrying the message of peace. It's inspiring to be able to touch someone else's life and let them know that someone cares," he said.

On his walk, Garcia will carry a "Peace Pole" inscribed with the message, "May Peace Prevail on Earth," gifted by the World Peace Sanctuary. As Garcia travels across the Middle East and Asia, the hope is that the message can begin to heal and unite people of all faiths and cultures to embrace each other.

A Peace Pole is a handcrafted monument that displays the message "May Peace Prevail on Earth" on each of its sides, often times in various languages.

As his departure date comes closer, Garcia's hope is that as he presents the eight-foot monument to leaders in each of the countries that he visits, they will be inspired to sign their names or inscribe their own message of peace upon it.Currently there are Peace Poles planted in more than 180 countries across the world, including one in front of the M&T Bank in Amenia and one in the Hamlet of Wassaic.

Garcia hopes that the embassies in the Middle East and Asia will open their doors and their borders to him as he prepares to embark on his walk.

"I have no agenda, I just want to bring the message and the gift of peace," Garcia said. "I'm nobody - just the guy who carries the Peace Pole. I'm just a servant, and that's OK."

His current plan is to spend three days walking to New York City, arriving on Easter Sunday, where he plans to visit Ground Zero and the United Nations.He expects his walk through the Middle East and Asia to end in September, close to or on Sept. 21, which has been set by the UN General Assembly the International Day of Peace.

Garcia's anticipated route includes Dubai, UAE; New Delhi, India; Doha, Qatar; Bangkok, Thailand; Al-Manámah, Bahrain; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Vientiane, Laos; and Amman, Jordan to name a few.

Because any one of the countries that Garcia hopes to visit could potentially deny him entry, it becomes impossible for him to have a set itinerary or route.

"This is a crazy way to live, but it's living," Garcia said.

Timothy Miner, President of the US FreedomWalk Festival Club, has offered Garcia his experience as a pilot for American Airlines and will assist Garcia with travel and logistical arrangements.

Miner has also invited Garcia to carry the Peace Pole in the 2008 Century Walk in Beijing.

"Sometimes I ask myself if I am actually doing anything," Garcia said. "Its only when I can meet and pray with people and see their lives being touched that I realize the impact of bringing a message of love."

Even now Garcia has plans for his next walk after he arrives back from Beijing, hoping to follow a route from Mexico to Argentina."Everywhere I go, I find that people are essentially the same," said Garcia. "I can't change people. I can only love them. In the end, that's what it's all about anyway - love."

For more information visit www.globalwalk.cc and www.worldpeace.org, or call Ann Marie Williams at The World Peace Sanctuary at 845-877-6093 ext. 204.
©Harlem Valley Times 2008

article referral courtesy of Tim Miner

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