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Life Arts    H4'ed 9/1/12

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Flag: MD Follows His Heart on 900-Mile Trek

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Harlowton, MT

Bob McNary stitches the flag.
Bob McNary stitches the flag.
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Early on Sept. 1st, Dr. Robert McNary, 63, of Harlowton, MT, took the first step of his journey of a thousand miles. Well, actually, something over 900 miles. Close enough.

McNary (aka Dr. Bob) is a physician and a former US Army Captain who served in Viet Nam.

The doctor is walking from Harlowton, MT, to Reno, NV. He'll be carrying a unique version of Old Glory on the journey, which he's dubbed, "Harlo to Reno." He plans to arrive in approximately 40 days.

'Dr. Bob' leaves Harlowton, MT, Sept 1, 2012
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STAR and Stripes Forever

McNary believes that the US "is due for a spiritual revolution rather than a political one. The symbols of the USA may hold the key to both the recovery and rediscovery of America."

Dr. Bob's STAR & Stripes.
Dr. Bob's STAR & Stripes.
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McNary refers to his variant of Old Glory as the "STAR and Stripes." His 10-year-old version of the flag features the familiar red and white striped field. But on the blue canton, he's appliqued a golden heart with 13 deeper gold stars, which he feels keenly emphasizes the innate spirit of America. "You gotta have heart, miles and miles of heart,"  he says, with both his voice and his feet.

Following in His Own Footsteps

McNary calls this pilgrimage "Part Two" of a trek he made in 2002. On June 11, he left Lavina, MT, on his way to NYC, 2100 miles away. He may have worn out his soles, but not his soul:  four pair of hiking boots later he arrived at the foot of Lady Liberty, on Nov. 3. (He notes that he accepted a few generous offers of rides at various times, but walked for 1400 of those miles.)

Arriving at Lady Liberty (with friend, Peace Arnold.
Arriving at Lady Liberty (with friend, Peace Arnold.
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The focus of McNary's  first ambulatory adventure was to share his inspired version of the American flag, and encourage love and goodwill in those he met.  He says that he and his homemade nylon flag, nicknamed, "Fannie," saw the land "up close and personal" on his first journey, and "encountered a wide spectrum of America's sons and daughters." Dr. Bob published an account of these experiences in his book, MONTANA Made Me Do It: Walk and Paint AMERICA Red, White, and Blue.

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Bob

In his book, he says, "Maybe the one large white star on her blue field hints that it's time for us to become the United STATE of America. That One Star may remind us of our longheld motto, E Pluribus Unum (From Many One) as well as the currently popular one, United We Stand.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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