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Downtown Dayton Celebrates Peace

Today in downtown Dayton, several internationally important events centered around peace will be celebrated.  Today is the fifth anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and it's also the one hundredth anniversary of the Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands.

The Netherlands' Peace Palace houses the International Court of Justice, which serves as the judicial body of the United Nations.  It officially opened August 28, 1913 and that milestone will play a part in today's celebrations surrounding the King anniversary.

London Coe, with Peace on Fifth, Dayton's fair-trade and compassionate commerce store, says there's an element about today's event that reaches beyond just talking about peace.

"This is one way to kind of place a measuring stick on where we are in terms of peace and also look forward to new investments in our community for peace," says Coe.

Few people would deny what Coe asserts, that even now one hundred years after the rise of the Peace Palace, fifty years after King's "Dream" speech, the world still struggles to "incorporate peace, not just as a value system to be talked about, but as an activity to be practiced." And measuring progress can be difficult.

"But I would say to you in the cleanest easiest way, that peace is really about community support and our ability to get along," says Coe. " So we're supporting a local business. We're supporting our local schools. We're paying attention to our kids when they do homework.  We are going to farmers markets and buying from our local farmers.  All of those are measures of peace. Why? Because they strengthen the community."

Mayor Gary Leitzell will attend today's Anniversary of Peace celebration at noon on Courthouse Square and local school kids will present a reading of King's speech, fifty years after the civil rights leader encouraged the world to dream of peace on day.