Peace message takes to the streets in Auburn

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Chanting and carrying pro-peace signs, marchers carried an anti-war message to a busy Auburn street corner Wednesday morning. The signs carried slogans like “Peace is more powerful than war” and “Global unity” and marchers sang “Give Peace a Chance” to the backbeat of drumming as they converged for a short rally at the Elm Avenue-Highway 49 intersection. Horns honked, some drivers held out their fingers in “V” peace signs and others gave participants the thumbs up. About 20 people took part on a day marked around the world as International Day of Peace. “I’m feeling like we have to keep working for it because war and violence doesn’t solve anything,” said Leslye Janusz of Auburn. “We have to start doing things for peace not war. Otherwise nothing’s going to change.” Linda Olsen of Auburn said she went to the United Nations website to learn more about the global day of peace it has organized for the past 30 years. “It’s encouraging to see all the things done all over the world,” Olsen said. “At least we have some hope.” In perhaps the most noteworthy show of support, The Associated Press reported that the Philippine military was marking the day by declaring a one-day truce with communist rebels. Wednesday’s event in Auburn was organized by the New Faith United Church of Christ and Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists Church, both of Auburn. The Rev. Lynn Gardner of the Sierra Foothill church said she was pleased with the turnout and reaction during the hour-long event. It started with a short ceremony at the “Why” statue on Fulweiler Avenue, before a march to the Highway 49 crossroads and back. “Peace is more popular than we think,” Gardner said. New Faith United’s The Rev. Gerry Paulsen said that the gathering wasn’t targeting any particular military action but tried to strike a more universal theme of peace throughout the world. Terry Morgan is senior chaplain and executive director of the Gold Country Chaplaincy and has his own perspective on war and peace. Morgan’s group is working with veterans, many who have returned to civilian life after serving in Afghanistan and Iran and are living on the edge of poverty and homelessness. Morgan said Wednesday that war is always an unfortunate outcome and demonstrations like the one in Auburn remind people that the goal is to have peace with enemies. “At the same time, it’s important to have people there to protect our freedom,” Morgan said. “War is never a good thing but sometimes it’s the only way to keep evil people from doing harm to others.” The chaplaincy is organizing a Veteran’s Stand Down Sept. 27-29 in Roseville that will provide veterans and their families with an idea of what services are available to help them, but also give them a place to stay the night and have a meal. “It’s hard to find work and many are living on the edge,” Morgan said. “The most important thing we can do is pray for a quick resolution, godly wisdom for our leaders and safety for our young men and women.”