Celebrating a Garden Memorial Dedicated to Children and Peace

By Doug Garnar

Doug Garnar “Why I planned this park”

On May 8th, the public and members of Broome County Veterans for Peace and Peace Action celebrated the dedication of a children’s peace garden within Otsiningo Park adjacent to the children’s playground. The ceremony culminates my sixty-year engagement in war and peace issues, especially as it relates to ‘collateral damage’ – the death of innocent children and civilians. The central theme of the garden is that it be a welcoming place that celebrates children and facilitates activities which increase the possibilities of a world beyond war. A major feature of the garden is a small schoolhouse lending library containing children’s books.

Creativity was highlighted in the dedication ceremony which featured the following –

    • 50 pictures drawn by Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School students depicting their vision of peace and the children’s peace garden
    • Children unveiling the peace garden monument
    • Andru Bemis playing several of his stringed instruments
    • Children from Glee performing inspirational dance routines
    • Rose Garrity speaking eloquently about the problems and solutions of domestic (child/spouse) abuse
    • Judy McMahon, dressed in costume, reading Julia Ward Howe’s “Mother’s Day Proclamation”
    • Sisters, Cayden and Emma Cacala, singing a beautiful duet, “The Best Day”
    • Abigail Bennett reading her poem that included the following verses –
      There are stories with unwritten pages.
      Conclusions to life that should have continued.
      Moments that should have been experienced.
      Love that should have been felt…
      We can not erase the past, we can simply do our best to heal the future,
      And give life to the legacies of those we could not save.
      May their stories bloom with the growth of the garden,
      And may their memories live on within us.

As the garden matures, we intend to have herbs for children to smell, occasional story readings and a Linden tree planted adjacent to the garden. The Linden tree is a symbol of peace, compassion, love, and hope. If you are interested in developing a similar peace garden project – contact me at garnardc@sunybroome.edu.

See Children’s Peace Park Dedication for additional photos.

From the June 2021 BCPA Update newsletter, download the PDF

Broome County Peace Action Update Newsletter – June 2021 (click to open or download PDF)

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