Grand Prize Winner
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Jurors' Awards


Second Place

We Come in Peace
by Nick Ray
17 years old, Tennessee

Peace, serenity, tranquility, and harmony are ideas thought of as impossible on earth and only achievable in heaven. Though defined as a state of mutual harmony between people, peace is not as easily acquired as it is outlined. However, peace is not as an intangible task for this day and age as it may present itself. The question to be asked is, “Do we as individual human beings hold in us the potential to influence a positive end: world peace?” The potential exists, but calls for a serious re-evaluation of our socialization process and a fundamental reconstruction of the way we implement the solution to a problem.

We often place much importance in our immediate surrounding community and its needs, rather than the needs of the human race as a whole. Religion, race, ethnicity, or even geographic location can draw mental boundaries because of underlying insecurities and an overwhelming need to belong. The societies and cultures distant to us fail to be recognized and understood due to the sole fact that we are not directly affected by them. Misconception leads to acrimony, and acrimony leads to vehemence.

Often our intentions in themselves are harmless and natural but the e4nd results are contrary to worldly welfare. It is important to understand that we are breathing the same air, that we are drinking the same water, that we are living on the same land, and that we are using the same energy. There is not “mine” or “yours.” Possessions are unimportant, because when we die, none of it goes with us anyway.

Accepting others for their differences and focusing on what is the same is fundamental to attaining world peace. No matter what we look like or what we believe, human beings are basically the same. Most religions preach some form of karmic retribution and that treating others with kindness and respect is premier.

Forgiveness of wrongdoings is key to peace on our planet. If we can forgive those who have wronged us, then they can forgive us, we can start to heal from the wrongs we have perpetrated on each other. If we can forgive the past, then we can focus on the future.

There is the infinite capacity to love and of course no one is perfect. However, if we can love as many people as we can, then eventually everyone will be loved, and love can soften the hardest heart.

Truth is another point on which we must focus. Telling the truth requires us to only tell it once and if everyone is telling the truth, then we can trust everyone. With trust, we will have no reason to fear.

We then come to our final obligation: the demand for world peace. Peace cannot be achieved by one man alone. Peace can only be achieved if we as humans band together to demand it.  It must not emerge from one country, but from all countries and all people. We will find ourselves on the road to peace when all unite in harmony and serenity.


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