United States 16 April: Trenton, NJ - Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Welcomes Peace

Our good friends and great hosts, Subamaya Tom Cusack and Srutavinda Ginny Cusack, took care of us on the first day and night of our long journey, feeding us and opening their home to us unconditionally.

It was difficult to say good bye to these two very generous Peace lovers and servers as we were about to head off to Philadelphia.

Our first destination was the Emlen Elemantary School in Philadelphia. We were greeted very warmly with very special signs the children made for our arrival.

Some of the children joined us on stage as we were introduced by Jeff MacFarland, Principal of a nearby high school who arrange for us to visit both schools this morning.

Smiles abounded as well as did the creative eyeware by some of the children.

The children seemed quite sincere about quietly feeling peace in the heart.

Principal Tammy Thomas gladly accepts our Certificate of Appreciation presented to her by Rupasi from Seattle.

After the ceremony some of the children, Girls On the Run, happily carried the Peace Torch for a short Peace Run around the school.

A happy group of children joined our team for the morning and posed for a group photo by our RV camper.

Lasha, from the country of Georgia in Europe, carries the Torch for a while during a Peace Run to the next school, Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice.

Lika, also from Georgia, having just arrived here yesterday, cheerfully carries the Torch during a break in the heavy morning rain.

Elizabeth from Eritrea, Africa, is all smiles as she has a turn at carrying the Peace Torch from school to school.

Many high school students lined the hallways to welcome us to the Parkway School for Peace and Social Justice.

We introduced ourselves and sang our Peace Run song to the large audience gathered in the auditorium.

Principal Jeff MacFarland helped to organize the two school events today and enthusiastically introduced our team to the students at his school.

These 8 students were selected to receive Peace Run Torch-Bearer Awards for their efforts at helping to maintain a peaceful and safe environment in their school and community.

The school choir presented a recording of a special song they have been creating over the last few months.

Pragati who lives in New York and has worked at the United Nations Headquarters for many decades spoke about the sustainable development goals of the U.N. Goal 15 is Peace.

We are grateful to the Granny Peace Brigade who came to offer their encouragement and support for social justice and peace.

The students are encouraged to be creative and actively promote peace around them.

World Peace starts within each of us. This school certainly has demonstrated this through their many efforts at serving the community and the children as well.

The students and teachers had a chance to share the Peace Torch and offer their goodwill to our efforts and those of the school itself.

We were very grateful to receive a delicious lunch with pizza, salad, smoothies and fruit.

As we left we shared the Peace Torch with the students as they offered their uplifting smiles and goodwill.

Our last school of the day was the lower school at Girard College also in Philadelphiawhere we were met by a very enthusiastic welcoming committee of students and staff.

The children were quite sincere in their efforts to find peace within themselves.

Beautiful smiles reflected the joy and peace that the children so warmly shared with us.

One of our Peace Run coordinators from England, Devashishu, shares a few peaceful thoughts with some of the students.

The whole auditorium participated in our World Harmony Run song.

The sun finally came out after a very rainy morning and the students were able to make wishes for peace outdoors as we lit the Peace Torch for them.

The children had a chance to speak with the Peace Runners and express their own feelings and thoughts about what peace means to them.

Tracey El, a teacher from Philadelphia, graciously added her enthusiasm and support for the Peace Run . She even wore our official Peace Run shirt to all the ceremonies today.

Some of the teachers and staff also came out to enjoy the sun as shared their smiles and peaceful wishes with us.

We are very grateful to Caitlin Kelly, the Physical Education teacher who helped to organize this event for us.

After our last school event we were fortunate to have a private tour of Christ Church in Philadelphia where some of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. attended during the establishment of this country over 240 years ago.

The women's Peace Run Team behind the Christ Church which was the tallest building in America when it was first built.

The men's team met in front of the Christ Church which was also the first Episcopalian Church formed after the split with the Church of England during the Revolution.

A view of Independence Hall where the Delcaration of Independence was ratified and signed by the Founders of this country over 240 years ago.

We took a tour of Independence Hall to see the actual room where this country was 'born'. This is the walking stick and table where Thomas Jefferson sat during the formation of our country. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and our third President of the United States.

We owe a debt of Gratitude to Pragati, our local coordinator for Philadelphia, who took care of us and fed us on our second day of the Peace Run. The day was very uplifting and rewarding as it helped to launch us into our long journey through North America for the next 4 months.

The peace of the day was reflected in the setting sun which greeted us on our way to our accommodation for the night.