Rockford celebrates International Day of Peace

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A Rockford monument celebrates a special day with the worldwide community.

"Rockford is a place where people, from its founding, have come from all parts of the world in waves of immigration," said Jim Keeling, Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza.

17 years in the Forest City, the Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza welcomes the greater Rockford community to the International Day of Peace.

"International Day of Peace is about celebrating our diversity. We come up, as it relates to us here in Rockford, we come from all kinds of backgrounds, and the whole focus of this peace plaza is inclusion and celebrate our diversity,” said Keeling.

This year's theme of “Creating a New Way of Being” explored the ancient history of Gilgamesh and Mesopotamia.

"I love to be here along with the other international sister cities and really show off who we are, but then also show our students that they have international connections and people who are interested in coming to Rockford from all over the world,” said Alix Fox, Executive Director, Swedish Historical Society of Rockford.

More than 300 students from throughout the Stateline spent their day checking out exhibits from cultures all across the globe, highlighting what connects us, rather than what divides.

"It really is just looking at the next person and saying, 'You're a human being, just as I am, but I celebrate what has made you, you,' because that's what makes each and every one of us special," said Fox.

Students also decorated peace poles with wishes for the future and the Center for Non-Violence brought 2 mobile labs filled with activities to encourage kids to use their imaginations to spread peace.