May 13, 2024 Live from the road

St. Louis, Missouri

Reported by Santiva Morrison 38.0 mi

We began our day by running to the Gateway Arch, America's tallest national monument.

Meeting some friends along the way.

Arriving in downtown St. Louis.

These German tourists were so excited to hold the peace torch!

Salil found the best scenic view for his shot.

The team enthusiastically started running to the first ceremony of the day.

Running to our next destination in St. Louis.

Kelly Moore, Director of Community Engagement for the International Institute, welcomed the Peace Run team. This Institute serves immigrants and newly arrived families, connecting them with first touch services and resources. Their programs are locally and nationally acclaimed.

Nayana Hein, our St. Louis Peace Run Coordinator, Invited members of the audience to remember one of the most joyful experiences in their country or city of birth, and to imagine sharing it as a gift to those in their new home.

Ranjana Ghose, President of the Board of Directors of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, speaks about the importance of peace and how Sri Chinmoy dedicated his life to world peace, inspiring humanity with his music, peace meditations at the United Nations, lectures, sports and the arts. Ranjana congratulated both the night students, whose drawings and thoughts about peace had been posted on the board, and the day students who carried placards they had made indicating their home country.

Peace Run Executive Director, Salil Wilson, introduced the Peace Run and our highlights video.

Arrey Obenson, President and CEO of the International Institute, and former President of the United Nations Association of St. Louis, receives the Torch Bearer Award for his community and humanitarian service.

The students and staff wholeheartedly participated in singing the World Harmony Run song with the actions.

The international students at the Institute learn English as a second language. Here our new friend is showing us on the map where he comes from- Mexico!

Staff and teachers participated by running around the room with the peace torch having lots of fun.

A teacher and student from Mexico sharing the peace torch with Santiva, who is also from Mexico.

At the end of the ceremony the Institute provided us with refreshments. We really appreciated their kindness and were very grateful to learn about the Institute.

Our second ceremony of the day was at University City High School, where Nayana had gone to school.

The school orchestra welcomed us and their performance was amazing!

Even the local fire department joined us! Originally our program was going to be outside and include them, but because of rain we had to move indoors.

Feeling peace in our hearts.

Our Mongolian teammates singing a children's song in their language for the country guessing game.

A former student at the High School was invited to join us and share some words.

Congratulations to Richard Weiss, founder of the River City Journalism Fund, who received the Torch Bearer Award for serving his community.

Left to right, Michael Bostick, UCHS Class of 22; Richard "Dick" Weiss, UCHS Alum and 2024 Torchbearer; Jackson Park Principal Jim Triplett; Jennifer Hutchinson, Elementary Teacher of the Year; Dr. Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, Superintendent of the University City School District; Erin Bratkowski, Secondary Teacher of the Year; UCHS Principal Dr. Michael People, Nayana (Michele Levenson) Hein, UCHS Alum and St. Louis Peace Run Coordinator; and Salil Wilson, Executive Director, Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. Thank you so much, Dr. Hardin-Bartley, for graciously hosting this event.

Dolores Haddox, a former Torch Bearer Award recipient with our St Louis Coordinator, Nayana Hein.  We would like to thank Nayana for sponsoring the team during our stay in St. Louis, providing us with dinner and a place to stay for the team. Thank you Nayana!!! Gratitude.

Lori Willis, Director of Communications at the University City School District, and Dick Weiss. Thank you, Lori, for your wonderful work on this program.

Dr. Mike Peoples, Principal of University City High School, leads a lap with the Peace Torch.

Lori Willis, Director of Communications for the University City School District ,holds up a beautiful art work by Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run, entitled "When I am at Peace with the Universe, I feel happy." Dr, Mike Peoples, Principal of the University City High School, receives our Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of this wonderful school and all of those who so enthusiastically participated in this event today.

These students are track athletes!

Finally it was time to run to our last ceremony of the day- we met some enthusiastic new friends along the way!

On our way to our last ceremony for the day , the Vedanta Society of St Louis.

We were extremely happy and grateful to once again be welcomed by Swami Chetanananda, who is a renowned author on the life and mission of Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. He shared many anecdotes with us and emphasized the importance of peace. If you have inner peace, then you will be able to share it with others and find true happiness and joy in the world.  They provided us with delicious rice pudding, cookies, fruit and ice cream.  We would like to offer our infinite gratitude for their great inspiration, kindness and generosity.

Swami Chetanananda showing us some of his books that he has translated into English. He has written, translated and edited many books in English, Bengali and Sanskrit and they have been translated into many languages.

Part of the spiritual library at the Vedanta Society.

The Swami offers one of his books to Ranjana Ghose, President of the Sri Chinmoy Centres around the world. She was very happy and grateful to receive them

Swami Chetanananda signs a book about Sarada Devi for Ranjana.

Ranjana also offered Swami Chetanananda some books written by Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run.

Our team offered Swami Chetanananda a Certificate of Appreciation for his generosity and taking the time from his busy schedule to receive us at the Vedanta Society.

Some of our teammates bought his books and he was more than happy to sign them for us. Thank you!

Swami Chetanananda and his assistant, Swami Shivarchanananda, held our peace torch and soulfully blessed us with Vedic chants before we left.

A visitor to the Vedanta Society from Washington, DC happily holds the torch.

We would like to offer our infinite gratitude to the Vedanta Society for meeting with us. It was very inspiring and we will bring with us all their prayers and goodwill everywhere we go on our journey. Gratitude.

Torch carried by
Arpan DeAngelo (United States), Erdenetsetseg Gankhuu (Mongolia), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Jozsef Dicso (Hungary), Mananya Galante (United States), Nayana Tara-Hein (United States), Pransukh Marks (United States), Puroga Theobald (Hungary), Ranjana Ghose (United States), Rupasi Young (United States), Salil Wilson (Australia), Santiva Morrison (United States), Uugantsetseg Otgonbayar (Mongolia).  
Arpan DeAngelo, Erdenetsetseg Gankhuu, Harita Davies, Jozsef Dicso, Ranjana Ghose, Salil Wilson
The torch has travelled 38.0 mi in St. Louis, Missouri.

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