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REPORTING · 28th September 2010
Walter McFarlane
A small crowd gathered at Riverlodge Recreation Centre on Tuesday, September 21st to mark the International Day of Peace. A stage had been set up outside the facilities and barriers had been put in place to keep out traffic.

Several speakers had been lined up for the evening speeches between songs of peace performed live on stage. The evening was MC’d by Gareen Ball.

The first speaker was MLA Robin Austin. He stated the people of Kitimat live in a peaceful part of a peaceful country while in other parts of the world people have nothing due to the lack of peace and security. He asked people to consider how the individuals gathered there could make things better in other parts of the world.

“We are very blessed, all of us, to live here,” said Austin. “We should be very thankful for everything we have here in British Columbia and we should do whatever we can in our own little way to try and make bridges around the world to make that peace.”

The second speaker was Mayor Joanne Monaghan. She thanked everyone for coming and told the crowd about the Secretary General ringing the peace bell in the rose gardens at the United Nations.

“Tonight, we join with millions of other people thoughout our world in marking Peace Day. It is a powerful and moving thought,” said Monaghan.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) representatives took to the stage next, to summarize ‘Peace’ and explain the four R’s of Rotary. P stood for police and communities working together, E stood for education in peace, A was for Armed Services, C for Civil Communities and E stood for Environment, conservation and preservation. The four R’s of Rotary: rejection of violence, respect for cultural diversity, resolution of conflict in global communities and reconciliation.

The final speaker was Eleanor Kendall. “Does ‘Peace’ really have a chance in our lifetime? At Rotary, we believe it does,” said Kendall.

She explained the work Rotary did to promote peace around the world, feed the hungry, encouraging children to do better in school and the belief that people can do anything.

With that, the assembled gathered with red balloons, forged the peace symbol seen from above and let the balloons go.

The message of the day: “Dialogue and awareness are a value that is a strong foundation for mutual accord. Harmony, tolerance, justice and human rights are the foundation of peace. As much as we are all different, we are all alike. We all look at the same lights from different mountains,” said Ball.