Hope for peace is universal.
The 17th annual International Peace Day celebration Sept. 21 at Anna Maria Elementary School brought more than 100 people together for a morning of peace, poetry and song.
Manatee High School’s drumline arrived nearly 20 minutes late, and the celebration began when the drumming erupted.
Jackie Featherston, AME principal, and Judith Rup, vice president of the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island the school’s 17-year peace partner, opened the ceremony with speeches about the importance of individuals working for peace.
“Celebrating Peace Day, each of us has an individual responsibility to model peaceful behavior to others so that a chain reaction can happen throughout our world,” Featherston said.
The MHS Drumline led students from the fourth- and fifth-grades — carrying flags from countries around the world — to the peace garden, where they posted the flags at the AME Peace Pole.
The pole was donated after Sept. 11, 2001, by the island Rotary Club, a partner in Peace Day and other learning opportunities.
Students from every grade read essays and poems they wrote celebrating Peace Day, and each grade performed a song. After the grades performed, the student body sang together, “A Song of Peace.”
As students made their way back to their classrooms, they walked under an Olympic flag held up by older students.
“It’s a great way to start the day,” Rup said. “The kids are so full of hope and enthusiasm. It’s incredible.”