The email read “Save This Date!” Saturday, June 9, 2018, for the 2018 Run-Walk for Peace 5K to take place at 9 a.m. starting and finishing in the parking lot of the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. It was a fundraising event for the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center.
I had not been to a peace demonstration since the spring semester of my freshman year at Rutgers University in 1969. The war in Vietnam was being protested across the nation. That day on the Rutgers campus the ROTC building was being marched on and taken over by student activist. I remember signs with peace symbols on them protesting the war.
Leading up to the 2018 Run-Walk for Peace 5K, I saw signs around Elizabethtown announcing the event with the familiar peace symbol on it. Saturday dawned bright and beautiful without rain, which I am sure was an answer to prayer for the event planners. I parked my car and walked to the event for peace. People of all ages were present for the race from senior citizens to young children and even a few strollers being pushed by parents. T-shirts from previous years were clothespinned to a clothesline. The T-shirts were very colorful. There was a youth band playing music. Pastor Pam Rice opened the event with a prayer for peace. The Brethren are well known for their beliefs on peace, nonviolence, social justice, human dignity and the simple life.
The runners took their place at the starting line and the announcer said, “Since this is a run for peace, no gun will be used to start the race.”
After the race, I walked back to my car with a deep sense of peace in my heart, something I did not experience in the spring of 1969 as a 20-year-old student deeply troubled by the war in Vietnam. Let’s hope and pray that the events unfolding in Singapore will result in furthering peace in our world.