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Hands Across America

Hands Across America was a benefit event staged on May 25, 1986 in which millions of people held hands for fifteen minutes along a path across the continental United States. Participants paid ten dollars to reserve their place in line; the profits were donated to local homeless charities.

"On the afternoon of Sunday, May 25, 1986, more than five million people joined hands to form a line that stretched 4,152 miles -- from New York City's Battery Park to a pier in Long Beach, California. This much-hyped mega-event, called Hands Across America, was intended to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness." [1]

Enough people participated to form an unbroken chain across the country if the path were a straight line. However, there were many breaks in the chain. In order to allow the maximum number of people to participate, the path linked major cities and meandered back and forth within the cities.

Cities along the route included the following:

The event was conceived and organized by Ken Kragen. A theme song titled Hands Across America was played simultaneously on hundreds of radio stations at 3:00 Eastern time (noon Pacific time) to add to the festive atmosphere of the event.