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Millbrook Rotary Club sounds the bells for peace

MILLBROOK — Peace rang out at Copperfield’s Restaurant in Millbrook on Wednesday, Sept. 28, when the Millbrook Rotary met there for lunch. Their meal was followed by a presentation by the Peace Bell Foundation’s Douglas Martin Sturomski, who is also a member of the Southern Dutchess Rotary. Sturomski is the executive director of the Peace Bell Foundation; he is from Hopewell Junction, N.Y. Sturomski’s presentation was entitled, “Bells, Instruments of Freedom and Peace: Their History, Mystery and Musical Magic.”The Peace Bell Foundation’s mission statement is as follows: “Ring in awareness that we are one global family and through understanding and knowledge we can learn to live in harmony and love.” The Peace Bell Foundation uses music, and more specifically bells, as part of a universal language to help in its mission of making the world a stronger community. Foundation members perform with bells; they have performed at events around the world, including at the United Nations for Earth Day. Sturomski started off his presentation at Copperfield’s while wearing a traditional town crier costume, with bell in tow. A town crier was an officer of the court who made announcements to the public using a bell back in Colonial days. Sturomski discussed the presence of bells throughout world history, the ringing of bells to signal events and the use of bells in language. During his talk, Sturomski also said people should make a habit of joining together in times of peace, as well as in times of crisis.“Three years ago we performed at the peace festival in Wassaic and it was poorly attended,” he said. “After 9/11 more people wanted to get involved with peace activities, and as time went on they started to lose interest again. That’s why peace demands so much energy and work. The problem is we are so distracted by everything else.”Sturomski said that the Peace Bell Foundation targets youth as a way to spread peace awareness.“One of the big areas that we have been doing programs and want to continue doing programs is in arts and education,” said Sturomski. “Because peace and freedom are in the hands of our children. Some of the older generations are stuck in a lot of different things. We are stuck with old ideas of what we think the world is. We have to unstick ourselves if we want to survive.”Sturomski said that people need to realize that all people from around the world have the same aspirations and ideas — that everyone wants to receive and give unconditional love to one another.“We see unconditional love all around the world,” said Sturomski. “People go to Haiti, tsunami disasters, New Orleans and help all those victims in those places. They don’t go down there for money. Most of the time they use their own money to go to these places. They went down there to help their fellow man. That’s what it’s all about it: It’s about helping each other, and if we don’t help each other than it’s not going to work.”Sturomski ended his presentation by having members of the audience play with the bells that he brought for with him. He signaled when each person should ring his or her bell, all the while making music. “The talk was great on history and just really interesting information about bells,” said Bryan Bunch, Millbrook Rotary member. “But where it connects to Rotary is in the emphasis on peace.” Sturomski said he was pleased he struck a chord with the Rotary, and then described the message the Peace Bell Foundation teaches to youth.“There are three types of people in the world and that’s our message,” said Sturomski “There are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. We want the kids to be the leaders and make things happen.”The Peace Bell Foundation keeps active: It hosted its second annual Peace Bells Across the Hudson on Saturday, Sept. 17. The walkwas a march for peace across the Walkway over the Hudson. The third annual peace walk will be Sept. 21, 2012.

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