Roanoke, Va. (WFXR) — In 2017 David Merritt left his farm and his family in Bedford County, Virginia to try and find some answers about the divisiveness in our country.
The idea came about shortly after the 2016 election. Merritt was driving his son home from an archery tournament in 2017 and as they flipped through the stations on the radio, Merritt says the political friction and disunity were all too apparent.
Merritt said to his son, “you know, somebody ought to walk across this nation and ask anybody who will talk to them what we can do about the divineness in the country.” His 17-year-old son at the time looked at him and said, “Dad, you’re the perfect guy to do it.”
Only a month and a half later, Merritt set out for his journey.
Merritt developed skills as a North Carolina Outward Bound School alumni and professional guide, therefore backpacking was familiar to him and although his goal to walk from coast-to-coast is difficult he had the passion and experience to approach the long trip. Initially, Merritt wanted to make his journey in one trip, starting in his birth town of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and ending in San Diego, California.
I mapped it out. It was about 2800 miles from Virginia Beach to San Diego and I figured if I could average twenty to twenty-five miles a day, which is a lot, that I could do it in four maybe five months. The first stretch and the reason I say the first stretch is because I was able to make it from Virginia Beach to Oklahoma City in sixty-six days, which is about 1680 miles, and that was an average about 22 miles a day.David Merritt, Founder of Walk of One Nation
Merritt had to return to Virginia, but instead of giving up altogether, he left for his second leg this past spring. As one would guess, this leg was cut short due to the occurrence of COVID-19. As soon as Merritt returned home he received news of the death of George Floyd, and shortly after, protests ensued.
Merritt wasn’t surprised by the news but was moreso heartbroken. Merrit’s mission is more important than ever, and he will not stop walking and asking “how can we come back together as Americans?”
To support Merritt’s journey and listen to the responses of people he has met along the way, be sure to check out the Walk of One Nation website.