6 PM VETERANS DAY COMMUNITY POTLUCK!
Co-sponsored by Troy Bike Rescue, Tom Paine Chapter of Veterans for Peace, Women Against War, and Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace:
Vietnam war veteran and famed anti-war activist S. Brian Willson, who lost his legs while blocking a munitions train in 1987, will give a talk and book signing on Veterans Day at The Sanctuary for Independent Media.
Willson’s appearance is part of a national tour he is conducting on two prosthetic legs and a three-wheeled handcycle to promote the ideas of a right livelihood and a simpler lifestyle that are set forth in his recently published book, “Blood on the Tracks.”
Willson, who celebrated his 70th birthday on July 4th, embodies radical change and indomitable spirit. After being raised as a “Commie-hating, baseball-loving Baptist,” in rural western New York, the former Eagle Scout and All-American youth ended up as a decorated captain in the United States Air Force, flying bombing missions in Southeast Asia—until he became horrified by the atrocities. An early organizer of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Willson became transformed into a revolutionary nonviolent pacifist.
After attending law school and working in prison reform, he gained national attention in 1986 as a participant in a veterans’ fast on the U.S. Capitol steps in 1986, protesting America’s funding of the Contra wars in Central America. On September 1, 1987, while engaging in a nonviolent blockade in protest of weapons shipments to El Salvador, he was run over and nearly killed by a Navy Munitions train in Concord, California. Despite suffering a fractured skull, the loss of both legs, and other horrific injuries, he miraculously survived and began an epic struggle to advocate in behalf of oppressed people throughout the globe.
Since that time, he has dedicated his life to championing a localized, sustainable lifestyle that promotes peace and equality. His compelling psycho-historical memoir, “Blood on the Tracks,” which features an introduction by Daniel Ellsberg, has been hailed by major public figures including Noam Chomsky, Ed Asner, Kris Kristofferson, Mark Rudd, and many others.
On the first leg of his book tour, last summer he cycled from Portland, Oregon to the San Francisco Bay Area on his three-wheeled, arm-powered handcycle, accompanied by Portland cyclist Joel Finkelstein. The second leg, August 31–September 11, he toured Southern California by automobile with Frank Dorrel doing the driving and bookselling. The third leg, kicked off in Chicago on October 9th and will stretch into late November with stops in Cleveland, New York state, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Columbus, Georgia.
Willson says his mantra is, “We are not worth more, they are not worth less.”