EMS students grades K-12 joined adults and children in a reported 129 countries marking the International Day of Peace this year, according to a Wikipedia entry on the recognition. The International Day of Peace is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on September 21.
Eastern Mennonite Elementary Students have marked the day since the school launched a K-5 program in 2005. This was their 16th celebration that included an enormous peace dove, carried by 4th grade students. (Peace parade photos by Abby Garber ’23)
Fifth grade students planned the program, which took place on Sept. 29 due to rain the previous week. They shared peace quotes, including this one by Jane Addams, “True peace is not merely the absence of war. It is the presence of justice.”
They also read of the book “Be You!” by Peter H. Reynolds, and distributed origami folded paper cranes that they had made for each student. Paper cranes are often used as a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times.
Grade 6-12 chapel
Students in grades 6-12 recognized the International Day of Peace during chapel on Monday, Sept. 20. Speaker Scott Rosen, EMS father, shared about his journey from enthusiastic supporter of US intervention in Afghanistan, to a stint in the military including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, to choosing pacifism. He is now a member of the group Veterans for Peace and shares his story as one perspective on the realities of war. See his presentation here.
Prior to Rosin’s presentation, Andrea Wenger, chapel coordinator and director of advancement, shared a brief history of the school’s peace pole, which was built, “planted,” and dedicated in front of the upper building in spring 2007. The pole features the words “Let there be peace on earth” in nine languages. An Oct. 6, 2015 edition of the school newspaper “Windsock” includes an article (p. 3) by Erin Rhodes ’16 with more about the history and meaning of the pole.