Fairbanks residents march for peace

Posted: Monday, October 01, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- About 200 people joined a Walk for Peace organized by a pair of construction-worker brothers Saturday as the nation prepared for possible retaliation against those blamed for the terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

The walk was in response to the pro-war rhetoric and the federal government's actions as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks, organizers said.

Catherine Copass is a biology graduate student who heard about the walk on the radio and decided to attend.

''I just keep thinking of people in areas that are potential targets for American military action and how terrifying it must be to live like that,'' she said.

Ryan and Jason Tinsley, two of the main organizers, said they had never gotten involved in a political issue before now.

''We're seriously just blue-collar workers,'' Ryan Tinsley said.

Before the walk started, Jason Tinsley urged people to think about the victims of the terrorist attacks, as well as all of the people in the world who have died at the hands of terrorists.

''We all deserve peace,'' he said.

Kjersti Baumfalk, a teacher, came from Nenana for the walk.

''I think there needs to be people standing up for a different response,'' she said. ''Everything we're doing, it seems designed to create more terrorists.''

Sarah Ferrell, an Alaska Native, said, ''I don't believe in war. I don't believe in hatred.''

One sign held by a walker read ''Let us not become the evil we seek to end.''

During a stop at the local veterans' memorial, Andy Blossy, a ponytailed former Marine and Vietnam veteran spoke.

''Vietnam was a dehumanizing experience,'' he said. ''My feeling is we don't have to do it anymore.''

''Answering violence with violence is not the answer,'' Ryan Tinsley said.

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