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Peace Activist Who Sacrificed Legs to Talk

January 21, 1988

The peace activist who lost both his legs after being run over by a train at an anti-war demonstration in Concord last September, will outline his political philosophy in a speech in Ventura Saturday.

S. Brian Willson, a 46-year-old Vietnam veteran, has traveled around the country since the incident to speak out against U.S aid to the Contras in Nicaragua.

Willson, of San Rafael, will discuss his personal commitment to end military intervention at 1 p.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church at 1338 E. Santa Clara St. in Ventura. Holly Rauen, Willson's wife, will also speak.

On Sept. 1, 1987, Willson refused to move out of the path of a train during a weapons blockade at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. He and other members of a group called Nuremberg Actions had gathered to prevent trains carrying armaments from crossing a public highway.

That morning, Willson and two other men perched on railroad tracks as the train approached. But, as it neared and gained speed, the other two leaped to safety.

"I'll be giving lots of interviews," Willson said three weeks after the accident. "I don't sit around and calculate the worth of my acts. I act on my conscience. I never anticipated being run over by a train, but I plan to continue to saying no to the death trains with my body."

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