CAMDEN – It’s said that the hopes and dreams wished for while holding the international Peace Torch will stay with the Torch as it’s passed from runner to runner, from town to town, and from hand to hand. Now the wishes of some Camden residents are among that constantly moving legacy.
“How can we have peace?” the visionary Sri Chinmoy once said. “Not by talking about peace, but by walking along the road of peace.”
A group with the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run paused in Camden, Thursday, Aug. 9, during a day-long running relay covering approximately 73 miles from Bangor to Waldoboro. Now in it’s final week, the international team comprising eight different nationalities has been promoting peace, harmony, and friendship during a four-month, 11,000-mile relay.
They began at the United Nations in New York City on April 15, winding their way down the East Coast, across the deep south of the U.S., briefly into Mexico, back up to Canada, east through Montana, and through Canada to Halifax before doubling back into Calais, Wednesday, Aug. 8.
The 12 runners work in tandem. The group of six women and of the group of six men alternate running the flame for a few miles while the other group pauses along the way to share the organization’s momentum, as they did in Belfast, Camden, and Rockport.
“Peace, or world peace, begins with, and depends on, individual peace,” Nikolas from Austria told several Camden Select Board members.
In Belfast, the mayor joined the women for a few miles, creating a highlight for the overall group. Yet, having run inland during the past days of humid conditions, Camden allowed a highlight, as well, being the location where they again felt the sea breeze against their skin.
The men currently passing through the area are from Italy, Austria, Maui, Connecticut, and two from Ukraine. The women are from Nepal, New Zealand, Ukraine, Rhode Island, and two from Australia. Yet, throughout the four-month journey, the group changed as 60 runners from about 25 different countries came and went depending on their vacation time from regular jobs.
“It’s been a remarkable journey, not only seeing so many states and places, but you meet just wonderful, wonderful people, like yourselves,” he said.
For 30 years, through hundreds of countries, runners have taken turns carrying the Peace Torch along highways and by-ways as they spread a sometimes verbal, sometimes silent message of hope.
Simultaneous runs are also occurring in Russia and the Netherlands, and other similar events have been organized in at least 98 other countries.
This relay comes to a completion back at the United Nations on August 15.