The last day of our two week New York/New England Peace Run loop began at the the New York State line where Greenwich, Connecticut meets Portchester, New York.
With a sense of oneness and team spirit we ran in groups as a team instead of the way we usually run, one person at a time, to cover a typical day's distance.
Along the way, as usual, we are surprised and delighted to meet peace lovers everywhere we go, to share the peace torch and their own prayers or wishes for peace.
Some people actually like to carry the Peace Torch, even if only for a few blocks, to experience the dynamic spirit of the Peace Run.
It seemed as if these 'children' had been waiting a very long time for us to come and share the Peace Torch with them.
This gentleman gave us his enlightened thoughts about peace as well.
A fun run with no pressure, but we still try to stay together at an easy pace.
A beautiful afternoon as we take turns carrying the Peace Torches which were shared by thousands of peace lovers around various sections of this amazing and vast country.
We could feel the pull of New York City as we got closer and closer to where we first started our journey in mid-April.
Finally in New York City, we get ready with a moment of silence and gratitude as we are about to run the last half-mile stretch home.
Brahmata carries the Peace Torch. We are grateful that she was able to come down from Canada to join us. She has always been an important team member on our North American Peace Runs. She also organizes many of the events in various cities of Canada.
Our Orlando, Florida team members, Santiva and Dave Morrison, lead the way for a few blocks. They were instrumental in various cities on our 2 month journey in organizing and running on the team as well.
The Peace Torch is passed around to the many members who have helped made this amazing U.S. Peace Run possible. Without them the running team would not have been able to cover the distance and share the Peace Torch with the thousands of peace lovers we have met throughout this country.
Madhavi and Prakhara from Washington,D.C. share the Peace Torch. We are very grateful to both of them for their support with the schools and for all the public relations and media work done by Prakhara and some of her helpers.
Looking back at the very start on April 18, the initial team starts at the starting line of a 6-Day race held in Queens. We are so grateful to all the brave men and women who joined us then and all along the way as we review some highlights and offer gratitude to some of the people and places that welcomed us and supported us.
On the very first day, in New Jersey, with quite cold and damp weather, we were warmly welcomed by various religious organizations, receiving their own style of blessings for our upcoming 2-month journey.
In the Washinton, D.C. area we were fortunate to have events with our good friend Andrew Atmatyagi Kutt, who organized events with his Montessori based school, the Oneness-Family School. The children and staff members truly offered us inspiration and energy to keep going on our journey through some of the East Coast states.
Suprabha, one of our team members and an accomplished long-distance runner, always welcomes us to her gift shop and helps to organize events for us.
In Virginia we were fortunate to be able to visit Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, one of the most important Founding Fathers of the U.S.A.
We are so grateful to Nripal Eric Petersen and Nidrahara Kathy Rhodes, for organizing our tour there and for all the support they give us all along the way, in so many ways, year after year.
We eventually made it down to Orlando, Florida where Santiva Morrison, with the help of her husband Dave, organized many inspiring and meaningful events for us.
In the Tampa area of Florida, Safety Harbor, Tilvila, left, and Savadhan, right, organized some inspiring events as they have done for decades. Here they meet at City Hall as Peace Run Day is proclaimed there by the Mayor and his staff.
Drishti and Dujaya of Miami stand with the team at one of the many school events they organized for us there. We are grateful to them for the many decades of service to Peace Run in southern Florida and for always feeding us and welcoming us to their beautiful home.
Dave Morrison and his brother Manorath in San Diego, our first stop on the West Coast in California. We are so grateful to Manorath for all of the fantastic and inspiring events he organizers there, especially with the San Diego area school system.
The running team with the some of the local team members from San Diego who helped us along the way.
In Seattle, Aparajita joins us and helps organize some of the events.
Nayak is a great supporter of the run. His wife Nandita coordinates our events as we travel around the country.
Their son Bishwas is a longtime member of the team originally from Seattle. His organizing and engineering skills are invaluable assets to all that we do on and off the road.
Agraha is the 'master organizer' for many worldwide peace events throughout the decades and we are so grateful to him as well as he works with great humility, eagerness and enthusiasm.
A big thank you to our giant oneness team of super Coordinators in Seattle, many of whom are pictured here with our Torch-Bearer recipients.
A special gratitude offering to Co-US Peace Run Director, Nandita, who quietly held the whole run together communicating with our Coordinators around America. Also much gratitude to Rupasi the great, who served the run on many levels in many places, and to our dedicated local Coordinators, Jagadambika, Vidushi, Stota, Daulot, Jamini, Agraha and Aparajita, as well as others who served in many different ways.
The team at the Sri Chinmoy Peace Grove in Seattle.
Chicago was next and we have so many people to thank for organizing, welcoming and supporting us in our week long stay there. We had 15 inspiring events in 5 days there and it seemed as if we could do even more if we had more time to spend there. This is one of many events at Peace-Trees which were planted in honor of community leaders who have made a huge positive impact in bringing peace to their sometimes troubled communities.
We were also welcomed by families such as this family in the Chicago area who planted a peace tree right on their front lawn and welcomed us with their three beautiful children and their friendly dog.
On our last loop in New England we were helped by so many people in many ways. In Bennington, Vermont the whole team was treated to a healthy and delicious lunch at the Bennington Food Co-op. It was a truly generous offering to the team and the food was amazingly healthy and delicious at the same time.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our friends along the way who open their own homes to us to have a good night's rest before taking on the challenge of running through the Green Mountains of Vermont. Here our team was fortunate to have this whole big country house of Arun ane Julie Hein to ourselves for a night in the rustic countryside of the North Bennington area.
In Portland, Maine where we finally reached the Atlantic coastline, Chusini Polly Goodyear hosted the women's to her home. She also organized many events for us in the area, including 3 schools and a childrens' camp. She has always taken care of us in this way for decades and we are so grateful for hard work and cheerful leadership.
Boston was next as most of the team poses with Begabati and other members of our Boston area team who always support us and organize many inspiring events for us.
A bit further down the coast we were so happy to meet with various Mayors of the Providence area where many of the original Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms, various landmarks like bridges and trees, dedicated to peace and friendship, were originated. We are extremely grateful to Vijali, Virangini, Sharika and Sharani for all the support and organizational work they have done over the decades to make peace happen here in Rhode Island.
Connecticut welcomes us with the beautiful people of Norwich, an historic city rich in history of the start of our nation and its Native people.
The Mayor, some of his staff, some local runners and other peace lovers who live here very warmly welcomed us to their iconic City Hall building and declared Peace Run Day in Norwich in a heart-warming ceremony there.
In our final day in Connecticut we were welcomed in many cities including Norwalk, where the Mayor and the staff of Stew Leonard's, the World's Largest Dairy Store greeted us under their huge Peace Run sign. We are grateful to Sutusthi for this event and for other events in southern Connecticut also organized by Bikashita and Sameepa from Westport.
We are always welcome at the Cesar Batala School in Bridgeport when we run through there. We are so grateful to Sameepa Joan Hass and Bikashita Bill Hass for organizing this uplifting event along with others every year for us.
Our final event in Connecticut was a picnic and celebration of gratitude and joy at the beautiful home of Nripal Eric Petersen and Nidrahara Cathy Rhodes. They have supported us in so many ways, usually behind the scenes with oneness and humility. They always welcome us to their wonderful and beautiful home surrounded by the peace of nature and feed us sumptuously as we end our long journey.
Congratulations (and Gratitude) to all Peace Run Lovers, especially those who have supported us and kept us going all the way. We may have not mentioned everyone here but we know who they are and we send them our deepest gratitude and wishes for peace and happiness in each of theirs lives which they all richly deserve. Without all of them there would be no Peace Run as wel know it today.
Finally home, the women's team enjoys a wonderful meal at one of our favorite 'Diners' in Queens, 'The Smile of the Beyond'.
A smile is truly a harbinger of peace. We may not have photos with our own cameras of all of those who helped us to smile on journey throughout parts of the U.S., so may we end by offering an apropos 'smile' poem by the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy:
"Smile, my heart, smile, smile.
Smile, my mind, smile, smile.
Smile, my vital, smile, smile.
Smile, my body, smile, smile.
You are all in God’s Camera."