Former Military Journalist Walks Across Utah to Support Peace

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    By Lauren Waddell

    Five hundred miles in 26 days.

    That is one Iraq War veteran”s goal as he walks from Utah”s northern and southern borders to promote peace and the immediate removal of troops from Iraq.

    Marshall Thompson returned from Iraq two months ago after serving one year as a military journalist. He split his time between editing for the Anaconda Times, a U.S. Army base newspaper, and freelance reporting across Iraq.

    Shortly after returning home, Thompson realized that he wanted to do something more, something to help his fellow soldiers still serving in Iraq.

    “Upon coming to Iraq, I was shocked by the culture of the whole situation, the inefficiency,” Thompson said. “I just knew I had to do something. We wanted to get people”s attention.”

    The walk for peace began Oct. 2 near Richmond, Utah, north of Logan. It will continue for 26 days, excluding Sundays, and will conclude Oct. 31 just after St. George at the Arizona border.

    “I decided I would walk one day for every 100 soldiers who have been killed in Iraq,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, the number [of soldiers killed in Iraq] has increased beyond what we expected, and we will need to add a day.”

    Thompson has chosen to do the walk through Utah for a number of reasons. Besides being a Logan native, he marks Utah as the “reddest state [politically] in the nation.”

    “We want to show the world that even Utah supports peace,” Thompson said. “We hope that the U.S. government will take this as a mandate from the people.”

    Thompson saw first-hand the effects of war and the situation in Iraq while serving there from July 2005 to July 2006. Thompson joined the Army Reserve in 1999 and has also served in Kosovo, Macedonia and South Korea.

    Thompson and his wife, Kristen, have been married for five years. Thompson said she has been a wonderful source of support and strength for him, particularly through the few months prior to this walk.

    “We”ve planned this whole thing together,” Thompson said. “My family is my support team. There will always be someone there with me, walking or supporting.”

    Kristen, along with their 11-month-old daughter Eliza, will accompany Thompson for portions of his walk. Eliza was born one month after Thompson left for Iraq, but he was able to come back for the birth by taking his mid-tour break early.

    Now, Thompson has completed the first week of his journey and continues to extend his call of support to all.

    Thompson passes through Orem and Provo Tuesday on day eight of his journey. He will commence his day”s walk at 8 a.m. in Orem at 800 N. State Street and is expected to be in Provo by 10 a.m. at 820 N. 500 West.

    Even if nothing changes in Iraq, even if the troops remain where they are and Thompson”s actions appear as nothing more than one man”s voice, Thompson said he will be happy with himself.

    “I”ll feel good knowing I did what I could to save lives,” he said.

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