'The Old Turtle' helps children plead for peace

October 26, 1994|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,Contributing Writer

The Love Bug has turned into the peace turtle.

The latest edition of celebrity Volkswagen Beetles visited Maryland earlier this week on a mission that organizers hope will end with 1 million world peace messages delivered to the United Nations.

Inspired by the award-winning children's book "The Old Turtle" (Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers), a custom-painted VW is on the road for eight months gathering messages of peace written by children across the country. At each of the 134 stops -- including one in Bel Air and another in Ellicott City -- children gather to sing folk songs, read their visions of world peace and listen to the teachings of "The Old Turtle," written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Cheng Khee Chee.

Most of the peace events are organized by local booksellers. One local sponsor -- Susan Stone, of Stepping Stone Bookstore in Bel Air -- asked schools to participate. St. Margaret's School and South Hampden Middle School in Bel Air had their students write world peace visions and design peace posters as classroom projects.

Other schools near Ellicott City responded to a similar call by the Nature Nook.

Andrew Tubesing, the road manager for the tour, says that while local issues change from place to place, the children's concerns are similiar. Above all they are worried about violence and the environment.

More than 2,000 world peace messages were collected at the peace rallies in Bel Air and Ellicott City. They will be among those delivered to the United Nations in February 1995. Here's a sampling.

"My vision for world peace is simple. No war, no death, no grief, no stress, no headaches, no tears, no worries, and most importantly, no possibility that dad will leave for war." -- John Hodges, 7th grade, Bel Air

"My vision for world peace is more love in the world; not near as much violence. Our world needs a better attitude." -- Karen Baxter, 6th grade, Bel Air

"My vision for world peace is all the people and animals and rocks and stars and trees and rivers and oceans and mountains and breezes find the Old Turtle in our hearts and learn to live in love and harmony."-- Justin Bloch, 7th grade, Aberdeen

"Peace. Goes on unheard. It bounces from place to place showering good on us. Peace. It stops the hate, riots and wars. Peace. It stops in countries from time to time where it begins to shower its magic." -- Sean McAvoy, 5th grade, Bel Air

"My vision of world peace is so people are safe in their homes. I think people should be able to walk anywhere and be safe. Now kids are being kidnapped and never being found. I don't want to grow up being afraid. I want to do all that I can to change this world." -- Alicia Sanchez, 5th grade, Gaithersburg

"My vision of world peace is for everyone to be at peace with themselves so that we can be at peace with one another." -- Lindsay Martin, 8th grade, Bel Air

"I think that if people work together we could have peace. If we loved each other more, we could have peace. Some people underestimate how much we can do. We should be forgiving, but we don't have to be perfect. But we must realize that if we all do a little, we can do a lot." -- Megan Manfred, 4th grade, Rockville

If you would like to write a peace message for the United Nations, send it to: Old Turtle Peace Tour, Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers, 210 West Michigan St., Duluth, Minn. 55802.

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