The International Peace Garden in the heart of the Turtle Mountains is less than an hour from Newburg, N.D., and the farm where I grew up. I don’t recall how old I was the first time I was taken to the Garden, but I do recall one trip as a teen.
My two same-age cousins, Idamae and Carole were with me and we talked and dreamed of one day having a triple wedding ceremony in this setting with the millions of gorgeous flowers as a backdrop.
Of course that never happened, but each time I return I remember that little dream scheme. Such was the case on Monday.
We were at the farm visiting family which included nephew, John of Denver, Co., and once again a trip to the Peace Garden was a given. This was John’s first Garden visit and it’s always such a joy for me to return to this 2,339 acre prairie wilderness adjacent to Metigoshe State Park in North Dakota and next to Turtle Mountain Provincial Park in Manitoba.
A bit of history: My cousins and I aren’t the only dreamers. It was always Sculptor Henry Moore’s dream to have a formal botanical garden in the heart of the North American continent. That dream became a reality on July 14, 1932, with the dedication of a cairn (landmark) built right on the 49th Parallel in the Turtle Mountains. About 50,000 people attended that dedication which established the International Peace Garden that celebrates the peaceful coexistence of Canada and the United States. On the cairn are these words:
“To God in His Glory, we two nations dedicate this garden and pledge ourselves that as long as men shall live, we will not take up arms against one another.”
On Monday, the sky was the bluest of blue and the flowers brilliant beyond belief – perhaps the prettiest I have ever seen them.
Unfortunately these towers are experiencing crumbling at the top and bottom and plans are to soon take them down.
We topped off our visit to the Peace Garden with a delicious lunch of soup and sandwiches in the café located in the Interpretive Center.
I’m told about 150,000 people visit the Peace Garden each year and this is where International Music Camp has been held for the past 60 years.
After several hours in the midst of this beautiful spot, your heart is indeed filled with peace along with thoughts of what might have been – a triple wedding once dreamed up by three silly cousins.