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He Lets Fingers Do the Walking

--A legless veteran who walked 2,784 miles across the United States on his padded knuckles ended his four-year trip with an emotional ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. “If anyone wants to know where the ‘Hands Across America’ are, here we are,” said Bob Wieland, 40, grinning and lifting a blistered fist in the air. Wieland, a former combat medic who lost both legs in a 1969 land mine explosion in Vietnam, began the trip on Sept. 8, 1982, at Knott’s Berry Farm near Los Angeles. His parents and friends walked the final mile with the exuberant, muscular veteran, cheering him on to the memorial on the Mall. Earlier in the day, Wieland had met President Reagan at the White House--a session that, the veteran said, brought tears to the President’s eyes--and had been greeted at the Capitol by House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.). On a downtown street corner, Wieland slipped his heavily calloused hands into the pads he calls his “running shoes.” By swinging forward on his powerfully muscled arms, he took a “step” of three feet, then rested momentarily on his buttocks and reached forward for another step in the last mile of a 3 1/2-year, 4.9-million-step journey to raise money to fight hunger. “Don’t be moved by the circumstances,” he said at the monument. “I set out to do something, and we accomplished that today, praise the Lord.”

--Budding social activist Amy Carter returned to Washington to put her foot down--a 400-pound papier-mache one emblematic of efforts to stamp out hunger in America. The daughter of former President Jimmy Carter told a news conference that she and her associates hope to make Americans “recognize the problem of hunger and do something about it.” Leaders of the National Student Campaign Against Hunger distributed a report on hunger that provides “some disturbing evidence about Americans, especially children, who don’t have enough to eat,” said Carter, a freshman at Brown University. “Our ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ feet show that students want action.”

--Friends of the John F. Kennedy Library will stage a regatta on Memorial Day weekend in Boston Harbor to raise money for the presidential archives. The sponsor of the race is Marina Bay of Quincy. The races on May 24 and 25 are expected to attract 150 boats in 10 classes to sail the 18- to 25-mile course from Marina Bay to Graves Light in Boston Harbor and back. The entrance fees of $25 will go toward the $25,000 the Friends of the JFK Library are raising to install floodlights at the library. The library is maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, but the Friends of the JFK Library provide extras.


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