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 Post subject: National Park
PostPosted: Sat 2. Oct 2010, 07:45 
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Joined: Wed 1. Apr 2009, 21:22
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It has been 115 years since the founding of Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and 100 since the founding of Glacier National Park in Montana.

In this, Rotary's centennial year in Canada, it seems fitting to note another significant year: 1932, when the two parks officially joined to become the first international peace park in the world.

Rotarians on both sides of the border had a hand in this historic moment. Joseph S. Low, 1930-31 president of the Rotary Club of Cardston, Alberta, wrote about how it came together: "The thing that appealed to me most [about Rotary] was the teaching of fellowship, international goodwill, and understanding. It always seems to me that if we were to keep our borders without armed forces to maintain peace and protect the rights of each country, that good will must be maintained and that understanding was most important."

After attending a meeting at which Past District Governor Frank R. Freeze spoke eloquently on the subject of international fellowship, Low decided to pitch his club an idea that was taking shape in his mind: arranging an annual goodwill meeting at Waterton with Canadian and U.S. Rotary clubs. He suggested holding the gathering each year on alternating sides of the border. According to the minutes of the meeting at which Low made the proposal, the club heartily endorsed the idea and authorized him to make it happen.

The dedication ceremony on 18 June 1932 included messages from Canadian Prime Minister R.B. Bennett and U.S. President Herbert Hoover. Both expressed sentiments similar to the Rotary founders'.
"It is my earnest hope that this great International Peace Park, stretching across our common frontier and in which citizens of both our countries may seek recreation, may forever remain a permanent memorial of all that neighbourly relations should be between adjoining nations," Bennett wrote.

"Dedication of the Waterton-Glacier International Park is a further gesture of the good will that has so long blessed our relations with our Canadian neighbors, and I am gratified by the hope and the faith that it will forever be an appropriate symbol of permanent peace and friendship," wrote Hoover.

Today, Rotarians govern the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Association. Canadians and Americans are equally represented on the 18-member board, and the presidency alternates between the two countries. Each year in September, Rotarians from 149 clubs in Canadian districts 5360 and 5370 (parts of Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and Saskatchewan) and U.S. District 5390 (Montana) gather for a weekend of fellowship and goodwill.

Everyone seems to agree that the most moving moment is on the final day, when club members join hands across a white ribbon symbolizing the border between their countries and recite this pledge: "In the name of God we will not take up arms against each other. We will work for peace, maintain liberty, strive for freedom, and demand equal opportunities for all mankind. May the long existing peace between our two nations stimulate other people to follow this example."

Source : Rotary Canada / Courtesy : eFlash_Rotary
For more news, photos, and videos log on to www.eflashonline.org


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