Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.
-- Micah 4:3-4


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Friends of Adin Ballou
Peace Essay Contest

2012 Essay Contest Winners

First Prize:
What Does Peace Mean to Me?
by Jagath Jai Kumar

According to a common dictionary, Peace is a state of mutual harmony between people or groups. But is that really what peace means? Any average person would describe peace as life without shouting or yelling, no violence and wars, and no quarrels with neighbors and relatives.

Many of the greatest peace-oriented minds in history had their own views of peace. Peace, as said by Indian peace leader Mahatma Gandhi, is non-violence, and justice to all citizens of the world. African American rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. also shared these ideals of righteousness to everyone. But peace to me, is something totally different, and can be explained in a short story.

Once there was a Prince, who quested for a glimpse of peace. So he ordered the best artists in the land to create pictures of peace. Finally, the Prince selected two that he liked very much. One had a beautiful meadow, a lovely sky, and fruit on trees. Many of the citizens thought this was truly an example of peace. The other portrait, however, showed a ghastly island with an erupting volcano, people fighting, and the earth trembling. But, in a small corner, there was a tree with a bird calmly making a nest. The Prince chose the latter painting, because he felt that peace is not living without worries. Peace is living with noise, quarrels, and hatred, and still being calm and relaxed in the entire body, which can radiate, and spread peace to everyone in the community.

Second Prize:
What Does Peace Mean to Me?
by Justin Jacques

"Peace" can have no true definition due to its transcendence beyond the grasp of human language. Peace is not a word, but a goal -- the gain that validates the risk, the light lying at the end of the tunnel, and the perfect equilibrium strived for by the system. Since the dawn of civilization, peace has made up the building blocks of shelter, which in turn produce food and water, which in turn produce life. It is the antithesis of war, shining like the Sun as poised as a glimmering paradise to those covered in violent, wartime moonlight.

Peace is a profession. Men revered as heroes have fought and died in scattered attempts to take the Earth by its frayed strings and drag us all out of the shadows and into that glorious Sun. The exalted few who stand proudly in legend -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Theodore Roosevelt -- are from time to time steadfast at the helm. They make their mark pulling into a splendor of accord strings that fray further every day with unimaginable might. Here and there stand recruiting booths disguised as injustice for the lucrative career of peace -- which is forever in need of new applicants. To apply, one need only stand up.

Peace is omnipotent. It touches every walk of life, blind to the massively perceived dangers of race, gender, or socioeconomic difference. Peace is the guardian to freedom, and the prerequisite to happiness. Peace is all of us -- therefore, it means everything.

Honorable Mention:
What Does Peace Mean to Me?
by Alec Munhall

To me, peace can be easily summed up in the lyrics of an Andrew Jackson Jihad song entitled "Personal Space Invader." The lyrics go, "Welcome to this world, have as much fun as you would like while helping others have as much fun as you're having." To me, peace is everyone helping everyone else live an enjoyable and productive life. Peace is people not being afraid to do what they love and enjoy. People should not have to worry about being attacked, abused, bullied or mistreated because they are trying to live an enjoyable life. Peace also means freedom to say and do what you want as long as you do not harm others. One of the great qualities about the nation that we live in is that it was founded to promote peace. We are one of the few nations where you can express your opinion, no matter how unpopular it is. However, we are starting to stray away from this view of peace and freedom. We need to remember that no matter what threats or enemies we come across we need to preserve the values this country was founded on. If we give up our ideals to fight an enemy that is trying to destroy those same ideals, we might as well not fight at all. I hope that one day everyone, not just a select few, will be able to live a great life and help others live a great life no matter what nationality, race, religion, or gender they are.