Aitkin Independent Age story by Kathleen Pakarinen.
Lynn Elling’s life work came full circle when he was honored with the 2010 World Citizen Award at Augsburg College in Minneapolis on March 7. Elling, who lives near Big Sandy Lake in the McGregor area, is a cofounder of the Peace Prize Festival where the award is presented each year and he also founded “World Citizen, Inc.” At 89, Elling is still working to nurture the “seed of peace” that first took root during World War II.
“The first ‘seed of peace’ planted in my brain during my experiences in Tarawa was nurtured by going into a dug out bunker where six Japanese soldiers were burned to death by napalm. Also, I came to the realization that the loss of some 6,000 young men, from this one island alone, was a tragedy … The “second seed of peace” was planted during our visit to the Hiroshima Atom Bomb Memorial,” Elling wrote recently, adding his firm belief that anyone who visits the memorial will never forget the experience of the horrors of atomic warfare.
Since that time, Elling has been committed to fostering the growth of the seed by reaching out to the youngest citizens of his immediate area, his state, country and the world. His efforts were recognized at the recent festival where he met with hundreds of students from 30 Peace Site schools across the globe and Nobel Laureate, Martti Ahtisaari, diplomat and former president of Finland.
About receiving his award, Elling said, “This had an incredible impact on me because it represented an award that has been given out for years to outstanding teachers promoting peace education – the most important leaders in the whole World Citizen Operation. Also, to have Dr. Geir Lunderstad involved [Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, was very impressive.”
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