My Reasons for Pedaling for Peace
By: Samuel Winstead
After returning from the Pacific theater of war in the fall of 1945, I
soon realized that suddenly being cast from war to civilian life was a
dramatic step. Physical issues, such as nail fungus, decaying teeth,
jungle rot, a painful neck injury that made a grinding noise, were not
nearly as problematic as emotional issues.
In struggling with ways to separate my thoughts about the horrors of
war, I was reminded of the fable Rip Van Winkle sleeping for twenty
years. Possibly, just separating me from reality and sleeping it off
would do the trick. I definitely wouldn’t have to worry about more war.
In the span of just two generations, the world had witnessed the most
horrendous crimes against humanity that had ever been known.
As I tried to relax in my doldrum state, I began to have nightmares of
war drums and news of the United States invading countries along the
rim of the Pacific. When questioning, I was assured that this was not
war, but just a necessary exercise to take out evil leaders, and school
their citizens on our great democratic system.
Then I became semi-awake with rumblings of war in the Middle East.
Again, I was assured it was our sacred duty to intervene. Evil leaders
were killing their own, and were possibly positioning themselves to
control our oil supply.
I needed reassurance, so I flipped on the TV. Sure enough, there was
our President standing on an air craft carrier saying, “Mission
Also, to distract me from reality, Tom Brokaw had just declared my
generation as “The Greatest Generation.” Strangers were patting me on
my back saying, “Thank you.” I couldn’t get enough of this; I found a
way to stretch these old arthritic arms around and pat my own back!
The real wakeup call came with a special delivery letter from my
“Granddaddy, I’m in Iraq and really distressed. I don’t know why we are
here; the Iraqi’s don’t want us here. My comrades are stressed and make
such outlandish statements. I don’t trust them. We have destroyed this
beautiful country, along with the artifacts of the world’s oldest
civilization. Is it true that America has placed my generation in a 15
trillion dollar debt to tear the world apart?”
Son, you just jarred me out of a slumber that would make Rip Van
Winkle’s sleep record look like an afternoon nap.
I’m riding my bicycle, heading to Washington DC, asking our leaders to
stop wars and not place any more debt on you, and my,
great-grandchildren for any reason.
As I became fully awake, I realized I wasn’t a teenager anymore, and
hadn’t ridden a bicycle in 70 years.
I will be biking to Washington, with a group of dedicated Americans,
departing the Capitol in Raleigh, NC on April 29th 2012 at 8:00 am. We
will arrive at the mall in Washington, DC on May 5th, 2012.
We invite anyone to join us at the mall to celebrate a plan of
confidence, and hope, for the future of America. You may travel by your
own means and pace.
For those who can’t travel, you may support our cause by making a tax
free contribution to the following address:
For a tax exempt contributions:
Americans for Peace
Roxboro Savings Bank
PO Box 489
Roxboro, NC 27573
Samuel H. Winstead