Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Homeless man passes through Williamsburg with an American flag and a message

Did you see this man walking through Williamsburg during the storm? (Tom Davis/WYDaily)
Did you see this man walking through Williamsburg during Thursday’s snowstorm? (Tom Davis/WYDaily)

On a cold day, when even the dog was hesitant to step outside, it was impossible to miss Karl walking along Monticello Avenue through Thursday’s blizzard.

Karl was spotted with his head bowed down into the freezing wind. He was dressed in full camouflage and looked like a soldier who had just returned from a tour of military duty.

As he walked, the whipping wind unfurled a tattered American flag that was nearly as tall as he was.

Karl had a backpack on his chest and another on his back, a large water bottle, a length of blue climbing rope hanging from his hip, and various tools in pouches around his waist. He had a black, rectangular walking stick that supported what appeared to be a bad right knee.

He made it to the underpass where Route 199 crosses over Monticello Avenue. There he found a small buffer from the wind, and used the opportunity to stop and adjust his load.

Stopping again near Duck Donuts across from Monticello Marketplace, Karl was asked if he was out in this weather for a reason.

“Yes,” he said. When asked what that reason was, he simply said, “Unity.”

While he provided WYDaily with the name ‘Karl,’ he said that is not his real name, as he asked for anonymity. His name, he said, is not important — but his cause for being out in the storm is.

Karl went on to explain that there is too much greed and selfishness in the world. He said he doesn’t think people need all of the things they have — and that those “things” keep them from caring about other people.

He is not a man who owns many “things,” as he said he has been homeless for a couple of years. Karl has spent that time making his way south from the Lehigh Valley and then down through the Appalachian Mountains on foot.

During his travels, he said he is happy to stop and talk to anyone who sees him and wants to listen to his message of unity.

Karl did not provide his real name, but said he hoped his message would be shared with the community. (Tom Davis/WYDaily)
Karl did not provide his real name, but said he hoped his message would be shared with the community. (Tom Davis/WYDaily)

“Instead of being home still, I prefer to be out here,” he said. “I still have a place to go, but this is more appealing than sitting still, and people need to understand that we have to stop hating each other.”

He claimed to alternate between homeless shelters or camping outdoors, depending on his location.

Karl said he stayed at a local homeless shelter the night before, but in the morning got bored of just waiting around for the weather to get better.

“Traveling like I do is absolutely insane,” he added. “My mom thinks I’m crazy.”

When asked where his mom lived, Karl replied, “Don’t matter.”

Local homeless shelters keep their guests’ personal information confidential for their privacy, so no additional information could be confirmed.

When asked where he was headed next, Karl simply said, “South.”

Before continuing his journey down Monticello, Karl returned to his flag and his theme.

“People got to care for each other,” he said. “This country, it says, ‘We the people,’ not me the people. It’s not about me or any one of us, I’m just human.”

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