Walk across America ends in OB

by on November 9, 2009 · 31 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego, Veterans

Walker OB-sm

Sinh Tho Nguyen being greeted by Sunshine, Nov. 8, 2009.

by Sunshine / November 9, 2009

I feel privileged to have just witnessed this man, Sinh Tho Nguyen, conclude his walk across America right here in OB on November 8th. He left the east coast’s Atlantic Shore on June 10th and literally walked across this fine country of ours.

As we freely approached him on the shores of the Pacific, he was shaking from the cold. Some kind OBcean took off their jacket and gifted it to him. His demeanor is kind. He appeared awed and exuded gratitude for all of America.

“Only because of American could I do this,” he said. Honor, commitment, endurance, dedication, humility; all qualities he wore generously on his sleeve.

And OB did not disappoint. Flags were flowing freely in the breeze, flowers adorned the Veteran’s Memorial, and Sinh Tho Nguyen’s journey concluded right here in the brightly shining setting sun.

Another wonderful moment shared with someone dedicated to their dreams!

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Gilbert November 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Very cool!


lane tobias November 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm

this picture tells it all. So much compassion there! I’m glad OB was there to welcome him…..but I’m not surprised by the kind response.

Sunshine, Thank you for documenting this.


BillRayDrums November 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm

My kid and I were right there. I took tons of pics with my Crackberry and afterwards had a long discussion about patriotism and what it means to be an American.

I could not have asked for a better civics teacher to instruct my son on that day. On behalf of my Grandfather, Uncle, and Aunt (Marine, Fallen Firefighter, and Air Force Pilot), my family thanks Sinh Tho Nguyen for his AWESOME effort.

I also have the video of him walking into the Pacific.


Dave Gilbert November 10, 2009 at 10:07 am

“I also have the video of him walking into the Pacific”

Probably headed to Hawaii no doubt.

“Did the local TV news even know about this incredible feat?”

I saw a piece about it last night on one of the local stations and they covered the “why” aspect of it too.


annagrace November 9, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Thanks to all of you who were there- Sunshine, BRD.
What is Sinh going to do now that his incredible journey is over? Does he have a job to go back to?


Shawn Conrad November 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm

He is going to walk to the store for me, but after that he has no plans.


annagrace November 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

What kind of a tyrant are you Shawn? You’re supposed to make him walk the plank…


Shawn Conrad November 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I’m thirsty. I’m a thirsty tyrant. Tyrants do get thirsty you know. After that perhaps the plank.


Will Parson November 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

With all the passersby coming up to watch on Newport it was pretty intense. I saw more than one teary-eyed face.


Jim Dent November 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Very cool story. First I’ve heard of it. The last one I heard about was the Fat Man Walking. I wonder what ever happened to him? He left here for the east coast on foot. Sinh Tho Nguyen is an inspiration. Did the local TV news even know about this incredible feat?


Monty Kroopkin November 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm

And he was walking why?


Shawn Conrad November 11, 2009 at 8:41 am

Because he couldn’t afford a bus ticket.


Monty Kroopkin November 10, 2009 at 7:55 am

He was walking to glorify the American Empire? the military? Why was he walking?


jon November 10, 2009 at 8:16 am

Because that’s what he felt like doing. Do you have some serious problem with that Monty? Is that gonna be ok with you? Get a f’n grip.


Shawn Conrad November 11, 2009 at 8:42 am

He was walking to irritate you personally.


doug porter November 10, 2009 at 9:15 am

monty is right… the story didn’t address the “why” of his situation. his motives were simple, and as far I can tell–as much as i could learn via google–pretty much apolitical in the sense that they were not part of anybody else’s agenda…. here’s a typical news story about him from texas:
“I owe to America so much, and I don’t have any talent at all,” Nguyen said. “I have two legs and a heart. So I decided to walk across America to give thanks to her.”
The water-meter reader – whose walking-intensive job gave him the idea to walk across America – is not getting paid for his cross-country trek or raising money for a cause. The walk, he said, is just his way of saying thanks to America and its troops.
“This walk is about America and those who suffer,” he said.
Nguyen said his father was a U.S. soldier in Vietnam but that they never met. In 1992, Nguyen applied for a visa to come to the United States and was approved in 60 days. He enlisted in the National Guard and Army after moving to the United States.


lane tobias November 10, 2009 at 9:45 am

I also wondered why he decided to walk across America – I had one friend from upstate NY tell me this very man was a monk with the Tibetan Buddhist monastery there. Obviously that isn’t true.

I think its fitting that Veterans day is this week in regard to this story. Thats how I’m going to look at it at least – to honor the people who serve or have served; not necessarily to support military actions.


jon November 10, 2009 at 9:47 am

I fail to see how that makes Monty “right” about anything. Monty only appears to be mocking this guy that accomplished an incredible feat. I don’t care if he walked across the whole frickin’ country to buy a loaf of bread. He did something none of us will probably do in our life. I won’t even walk to Point Loma! Show a little respect for the guy. Like you said Doug, his reasons were apolitical, yet Monty wants to turn it into an argument about American imperialism and shit? It doesn’t always have to be some political conspiracy bullshit! Just congratulate the guy for being a little more awesome than the rest of us and go on about your day.


doug porter November 10, 2009 at 10:26 am

wow, jon. channel that hostility in a positive direction.
monty simply asked some questions using hyperbole to make his point. you took it literally. i didn’t.


jon November 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

It just seriously irks me that somebody will always have something negative to say even about someone who’s doing something good. There’s so much awful, depressing news out there that stories like this finally give you a glimpse of humanity and something to lift your spirits, and yet some “Debbie Downer” will always step in and try to turn it into some political bullcrap or discredit the story in some way.
It happens on every blog, and news site, and on almost every story here and it pisses me off. It’ troll-ish, and I know Monty is not a troll, in fact I agree with him on many points he’s made here in the past, and I appreciate some of the work he does. But can’t we just be happy for the guy that he accomplished his goal? Myself and apparently everyone else ignored his first snide comment, but he kept pushing the issue and thus got a bite from me. Congratulations. I’m out.

And Steven, I will work on the ‘stache.


OBSteven November 10, 2009 at 10:51 am

Jon-I really wish you would consider growing a mustache like the one in your picture.


OBSteven November 10, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Thank you Jon. Updates and pictures would be nice.


lane tobias November 10, 2009 at 12:41 pm

i didnt think monty was mocking the accomplishment, just trying to fill in the blanks….


jon November 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Fair enough Lane, and I’m sorry to everyone else for losing my cool.

Perhaps I DID take Monty’s “question” the wrong way…imagine then, how many others who don’t follow this blog perceived the comment suggesting that Mr. Nguyen was glorifying American imperialism?

I believe Monty is intelligent enough to know that regardless of our government’s imperialistic nature, that was the farthest thing from Mr. Nguyen’s mind as he set out on his walk. It seemed like a cheap shot at a guy doing a noble thing.

Kudos to Mr. Nguyen on a job well done. And thanks to all those who were here to welcome him to Ocean Beach!

And again, my apologies for all of the exclamation points, cursing, and ridiculous mustache. Sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and today was no exception.


lane tobias November 10, 2009 at 11:56 pm

mustaches generally lighten the mood no matter what. especially the kind you can wax at the end and curl upwards; those are dope.


Dave Gilbert November 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm

We could all grow ’em and be like the Oakland A’s from the early 70’s!


Sunshine May 10, 2010 at 6:24 pm

I’ll grow one if you will…


leandra November 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I think it’s great that people were there for his arrival. He deserves the recognition and much kindness. Way to go OB!


justmy2cents November 10, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Wow, I just read the story bout the walking man. I saw him on the KUSI news that morning he was at the Harbor and said he would be hitting OB around 4 pm. In the live TV piece he never really said the ” whys” of his walk.
Not to be a hater or doubter but he probally could have spent his time much better by helping those in his area as his mission was cloudy at best at least in my view. At least thats how he came across. Thats a long walk with no real defined goal or message. At least Forest had a mission.
Just my 2cents.


Brian November 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm

“At least Forest had a mission.”

Is my memory of that movie poor, or am I missing a boatload of sarcasm?


Sunshine May 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm

your memories are safely in tact, Brian. As I recall, Forest simply went for a walk. Nothing more. One day he got tired of walking and decided to go home. Just like that.

Ah, you see, even in movies is the freedom to go for a nice long walk in, across, or any-which-way through America still something we can do.

Sinh simply set a goal and accomplished it. An honorable man of his word is he. Much too rare these days to go unnoticed.


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