PITTSBURG — Pastor Walter McGill spent July 3 and 4 walking from Franklin to the south end of Pittsburg carrying a U.S. flag and saluting almost every motorist who passed.
McGill, 70, is participating in a community prayer walk. He does similar walks all over the country and said the purpose is to meet people and promoting values. McGill said he believes family is the most important.
“I promote family because family is the building block of our nation,” McGill said. “When families fall apart, our nation falls apart.”
Family is especially connected to this walk according to McGill. He and his wife have been staying with his brother-in-law, Ron Smutz, who lost his wife, Jan, in a car accident last year. McGill said God brought him to Pittsburg for July 4 to walk for Jan.
“Yesterday, I walked in the rain for Jan,” McGill said. “Today, I’m going to continue that.”
He also said the walk is an Independence Day salute to the U.S., to all Kansas veterans and “to all who work to preserve our freedoms.”
McGill is carrying the flag that he carried from coast to coast last year. It took him 233 days to walk from Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, to the Santa Monica Pier in California. McGill said his flag was the first flag to be carried coast to coast on foot by an American-born veteran. He is currently petitioning to have the flag enshrined at the National Museum of American History. His petition can be accessed at usflagpetition.com.
McGill said his favorite thing is meeting people. He said he loves to hear horns honk and talk to folks who stop along his route.
“It’s the Fourth of July, so a lot of people are moving,” McGill said. “I’d like to connect with as many people as possible today.”
The community prayer walks are usually five to 10 miles, according to McGill, which is enough to keep him in shape.
“I feel like I’m 35 again,” McGill said. “It’s like my brain doesn’t know how old I am.”
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.