Every mile a memorial to troops
December 19, 2006
DAYTON – Bundled in a red and blue coat and carrying a stuffed backpack adorned with two American flags, Damion Maynard walked through Dayton on Tuesday, the first leg of a trek dedicated to fallen American troops.
“I am walking to Washington, D.C., to remember our troops, who I feel we have forgotten,” said Maynard of Carson City. “I plan to walk one mile for every member of our armed forces who have died in Iraq. Once I get to D.C., if I need to keep walking as the death toll rises, I will.”
Maynard, who has family in Carson, began his journey at the Capitol on Monday, with a send-off attended by a few close friends.
“My brother-in-law, who is stationed in Fort Hood (Texas), just came back (he was stationed at Baghdad Airport) a while ago and is waiting for redeployment,” Maynard said. “The war aside, whichever side you’re on, shouldn’t matter. What matters is that the men and women who are fighting deserve to be honored and put on a pedestal.”
While he’s not sure when he’ll get to D.C., Maynard believes the journey will take four to five months, or longer if he needs to travel past that to commemorate more lost soldiers.
A total of 2,946 American soldiers have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, based on the latest Pentagon figures. In December, at least 63 troops have died.
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He’ll not be hitching any rides, as he believes that this bit of sacrifice on his part is necessary to drive the point home.
“A lot of people thought I should wait until the weather was better, or wait until after Christmas, but either way that’s too easy,” he said. “I want people to really feel that I have a sense of closeness to this, that I really mean it. Part of picking this time of year represents the hardship our men and women are facing.
“I’ll give everything I have to this walk because they have given that much. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.”
Maynard can be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com.
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