Although it was designated by the United Nations in 1981, International Peace Day did not have a set date until 2001 and has not been celebrated in Newberg until now.

Mike Caruso said it really started because of the Peace Village.

“Peace Village was an organization started in Lincoln City in the `80s … after some upperclassmen in high school decided it would be fun to beat up (a) younger classman, so they blocked off the library and beat him to a pulp,” said Caruso, co-chairman for the New­berg Rotary Peace Builder Committee. “He ended up in the intensive (care) ward and the counselor decided this was not good, so they came up with the idea of starting off with younger people so they came up with the summer camp.”

Newberg hosts a Peace Village camp each summer, which is where the idea came to celebrate International Peace Day on Sept. 21 as well.

I think of a natural fit, International Peace Day, peace city, a peace community. It would be kind of ­awkward to not do it.

Mike Caruso

City Councilor Denise Bacon said kids who recently planted flowers around the first peace pole in Memorial Park decided Newberg should have a celebration, so North Valley Friends Church — who hosts the Peace Village camp — sent out an email to the groups involved to discuss hosting an event.

“The North Valley Friends Church held a meeting that had a wide cross section of people in attendance, which we now call ourselves the Newberg Peace Coalition,” said Suzanne Miller, spokesperson for the coalition.

The coalition is made up with representatives from the church, the Newberg Baha’i, George Fox University, Newberg Rotary, Newberg School District, Kiwanis and the city of Newberg.

Caruso said celebrating the day made sense considering two years ago Newberg declared itself a Rotary Peace City.

“It’s kind of a natural fit, International Peace Day, peace city, a peace community,” he said. “It would be kind of awkward to not do it.”

The day will include a peace march at 10:45 a.m. from Memorial Park to Francis Square. There a peace pole will be in­stalled and dedicated, hopefully by Mayor Bob Andrews, Miller said.

“If not, I’m sure we’ll find some other high ranking city person to do it,” Bacon said.

There will also be a moment of silence, Miller said, at noon — something every participating city will do around the world. Then to help people “think globally but act locally,” there will be booths from different service organizations for those interested in joining until 12:30 p.m., although Miller said they are flexible if people want to linger.

“So they can join to work together for a more peaceful world,” she said.

Caruso said the whole idea of a peace city is to change the idea of peace — that it’s really about working toward the common good.

“As far as I’m concerned Newberg has been there for a long time,” he said.

Miller said since this is the first celebration, it’s been a little organic in organizing the events, but she hopes it will continue to grow and eventually work with a sister city abroad.

For more information on how to get involved, call Miller at 503-538-7947.

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