ARIZONA CITY — Walter “Chick” McGill is an active 74-year-old besides being a natural healer, Vietnam veteran and pastor.
A few years ago, McGill walked across the country carrying the United States flag and on Friday he was seen walking through Arizona City during his freedom/prayer walk.
“My biggest desire is to meet people and interact with people and encourage people,” McGill said. “I salute when cars go by and people ask me, ‘They’re not military (so) why do you salute them?’ A salute is a gesture of honor. A person is admitting that they’re putting themselves lower and putting you higher.”
McGill was seen carrying a flag, but it was not the same flag he carried across the country.
“You can see this flag is kind of faded, but it’s still flying,” he said. “I didn’t bring my cross-country flag because if somebody decides to rumble I don’t want to lose it. My cross-country flag, to me, is worth more than a million dollars.”
During his 3,200-mile walk, McGill said that the flag needed to be repaired eight times. He also said that while no human ever physically assaulted him, he did have to jump out of the way of cars that swerved off the road.
“Some people in this world are mean and when you’re carrying this flag, it means different things to different people,” McGill said.
McGill grew up in Tennessee and declares he was “raised a racist.”
“My family was somewhere in the (Ku Klux Klan),” he said. “But I was transformed. When I went into the military, my best friend in the boot camp was a Black man. I said to myself, ‘This Black man is my best friend. These other guys, they’re junk but this guy is my best friend.’ We were together heart to heart, and I said I’m done with this. I can’t see color anymore.”
McGill later went to Africa, where he was a pastor and worked as a natural healer. He moved to Arizona City last year after living in Uganda with his wife working as missionaries.
“This is my final place,” he said. “I’m not a Gypsy anymore. We all have a purpose. God put us here for a purpose, but if we look at the dark things and we complain there’s discontentment. Accept what’s there and work off of that.”
Although Friday’s walk wasn’t a 3,200-mile cross-country expedition, McGill still had a purpose and message which was to celebrate freedom.
“I’m celebrating the freedom that was given to me by God and Jesus Christ,” he said. “I am celebrating the freedom that was won for me by the soldiers and is preserved by the soldiers. I don’t believe in war. Though I was in a war, I don’t believe in war.”
He added that he was walking for first responders and law enforcement officers and “all of those who keep our society safe and secure.”
“I’m protesting hypocrisy,” McGill said. “Protesting hypocrisy in politics, science, in medicine even in the human rights activists. Hypocrisy is staining and corrupting the world. I respect anyone who does what they say and lives by it, even if might differ with me.”