Speaking of peace…


In 1941 Lynn Elling was called to serve his country in WWII, since then he has been calling others not to war, but to peace.
At 94 years old, Elling is the founder of the Annual Nobel Peace Prize Youth Forum, the Co-Author of the 1971 Minnesota Declaration of World Citizenship and founder of World Citizen Inc.
On Wednesday, April 8, he visited Buffalo to spread his message of peace in Wright County.
“One of my props is this beautiful picture of the earth,” Elling said, holding up a poster of the earth that was roughly the size of a legal pad. “All of you should think about having a poster like this in every classroom and every place of worship,” he told the small group of individuals gathered at Huikko’s Bison Creek Bar and Grill to hear his story.
“Notice we don’t have any slogans on it. It doesn’t say do this or do that, but think about the impact it has on a little fifth grader who sees this every day when he or she comes to class. . . it reminds that youngster that we are all part of one big human family and we’re living on this space ship.”
Brought to Wright County by the Buffalo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Elling’s message is one that was planted as a seed in his brain during his days as a naval officer in WWII.
“I ended up on an LST,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone knows what an LST is, but it stands for Landing Ship Tank. It’s a horrible ship, because it can go only nine knots and it rams up on the beach and is stuck there while they unload the marines and their tanks and guns. It wasn’t anything to look forward to because we were headed to Tarawa.”
“I don’t know if any of you know anything about Tarawa, but it was a horror scene No. 1. Some 6,000 young men were slaughtered at Tarawa alone.”
Although Elling’s ship was diverted three days before the battle and turned into a supply ship, they eventually landed on that beach and saw first hand what the brutality of the war had wrought. The image planted a seed of peace in Elling’s mind that never left, he said.
For two years Elling traveled with the navy and saw many other battles. He found himself at sea again during the Korean War, then later, he “marched with the kids” to protest the Vietnam War.