MORONGO BASIN — A Missouri man is trekking through the Basin this week on his way from Seal Beach to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Butch Azar, of Leasburg, Missouri, started in Seal Beach Jan. 23 and plans to arrive in Washington, D.C., by sunrise on Sept. 11. He will go to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and at 9:11 a.m., will say a prayer. “I will go to God in prayer for our country,” Azar said during a stop in Yucca Valley Tuesday.
In Azar’s telling, his decision to embark on his “Walk to the Wall” was guided by God and a series of revelations — even miracles.
The journey began Aug. 28, 2010, the day of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Azar said he and his wife, Patti, were visiting the Vietnam wall, where Azar took a rubbing of the name of a friend who died in Vietnam — Michael Bryant Snyder. Holding the rubbing, Azar and his wife walked over to the rally and heard Beck give a speech.
“He started talking about Moses and his stick and Moses going up against Pharaoh (the government),” Azar said.
“I envisioned right when he said it an “US” on top of a stick.”
Azar returned to his home in the Missouri Ozarks thinking about his new project.
An incident he calls a miracle followed, affirming his commitment.
According to his website, back in his home in the Ozarks, Azar was working on the computer when he heard his horses and dogs raising the alarm outside. Fearing a mountain lion that had killed a neighbor’s horse was threatening his animals, he went outside, but couldn’t find anything. When he returned, he says, his computer screen was on an Internet site telling the story of how Benjamin Franklin bequeathed his walking stick to George Washington.
Calling the discovery a miracle, Azar recommitted to making his walking stick and decided to make cards about patriotism and religion to hang on the stick.
For his cross-country adventure, Azar is carrying a wooden walking stick he calls the Liberty Stick, hung with seven laminated cards he calls the Restoring Honor Cards, with pictures symbolizing his “Walk to the Wall,” the Glen Beck rally and the tea party.
Several cards refer to the World Trade Center Cross, an intersecting steel beam in the shape of the cross found at Ground Zero. Azar says he believes the cross is an epiphany from God telling Americans “to turn our country around” and put God first.
At the top of the stick is a brass circle inscribed with “US.” “That means us, we the people,” Azar said.
Along with his Liberty Stick, Azar is also carrying the wallet of the friend whose name on the Vietnam Wall helped start his journey, Michael Snyder.
Azar and a man named Ben Franklin who says he is the descendant of the founding father Benjamin Franklin are selling liberty sticks online to raise money; they say portions of the proceeds will be donated to Camp Hope, the Disabled American Veterans and Wounded Warriors. The sticks cost $50 and come with a book Azar made and a DVD of a song, “Stand up for the Flag.”
Azar is also raising money on Gofundme.com.
The date of his planned arrival at the memorial is another marvel for Azar.
“I’ve had a lot of epiphanies happen in my life,” he said.
He was debating between planning for his birthday or the anniversary of Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally.
“The still, small voice of God said, ‘9-11,’” Azar said.
When he walked to a calendar and saw the date was National Grandparents Day and Patriots Day, it seemed meant to be.
“I’m a grandfather and our country’s in trouble,” he said. “I’m doing my part, whatever that is.”