Woman bicycles in memory of brother, includes Pugwash stop
More than 40 years after it ended, Dr. Lynn Salvo still remembers the pain and division caused by the Vietnam War.
So, just two years after setting a Guinness World Record as the oldest woman to bicycle across the continental United States, the Virginia native decided to do it again – this time crossing Canada from Tofino on Vancouver Island to Lawrencetown Beach near Halifax. And Pugwash was one of her special stops on what could be coined as a peace journey.
She’s travelling in memory of her brother, whose plane was shot down over Vietnam nearly 50 years ago. He was only 28 years old.
“Promoting peace is personal for me,” said Salvo, who finished her tour by dipping the front tire of her bike near Halifax in the Atlantic Ocean on Aug. 26. “I lost my older brother in Vietnam. His plane was shot down and he was never found. When he died his wife was expecting their first child so he never got to know his child and his child never got to know him. I just wonder in those moments after he was hit, did he think about the child, did he even have time to think about the child? The fact they never met has never left me.”
On Aug. 23, she visited what she considers to be the Mecca of Peace in Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash
where in 1957 scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain came together at the summer home of industrialist Cyrus Eaton to talk nuclear disarmament.
“I get goosebumps just sitting here thinking about the history of this place and the role it has played in promoting peace and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Salvo said. “It’s the capstone, or the crown jewel, of the places I’ve visited. This place
is all about peace.”
While she doubts she alone can change the course of human history, she hopes her ride for peace inspires others to think of peaceful ways to resolve disputes so no other family has to go through what hers did.
“It’s not just one family, it’s all the siblings and the generations it affects,” she said.
As she made her way across Canada, she kept a tightly-controlled schedule. However, she took time to visit various peace monuments including the Peace Arch in Vancouver, the Peace Bridge in Calgary, the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg, Man., the Peace Tower in Ottawa and the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que.
She hopes people realize there are other ways deal with conflict.
“Peace is hard. It’s kind of easy to throw weapons at each other,” she said. “Peace requires eye contact, negotiation, talking, understanding and desire to understand.”
Salvo visited the United Nations in 2017 and an image from there stuck with her. She said inside the General Assembly there is a large yellow circle with a fastspinning counter showing how much is spent on defence, while there are three smaller circles that show spending on other things like sustainable development and feeding the hungry.
Quoting environmental analyst and founder of the Worldwatch Institute, Salvo said just 10 per cent of the world’s defence budget would end world hunger.
When she first started her cross-country tours, she also did it to show women can do so much more for much longer than they think, but then her belief expanded to embrace the thought everyone can do so much more than they think is possible.
Dr. Lynn Salvo, a 68-year-old native of Virginia, successfully completed her quest to become the Guinness World Record holder as the oldest woman to cycle across Canada. She also completed the ride to promote peace in memory of her brother, who was shot and killed while on a mission during the Vietnam War. She recently visited what she considers the capstone of peace, the Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash.