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Peace Education

Washington Banquet Marks 40th Anniversary of Founder’s Speech

Washington D.C.-2016-09-16-Washington Banquet Marks 40th Anniversary of Founder’s Speech

Washington, D.C., United States—A historic speech given by the UPF Founder to the American people was celebrated at a banquet 40 years later.

More than 250 people assembled in the Arbor Ballroom of The Washington Times building on September 16, 2016, to remember “America and God’s Will,” a speech given by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon at a rally at the Washington Monument in 1976.

The banquet was organized jointly by UPF-USA and the U.S. chapters of two affiliated organizations—the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP).

On the following afternoon, several thousand people would gather on the National Mall within view of the U.S. Capitol for a festival with music and inspiring speeches meant to re-create the spirit of the Washington Monument rally that took place four decades earlier on September 18.

Given in 1976, the bicentennial of the founding of the United States, Dr. Moon’s speech was an urgent warning to the people of America.

Dr. Moon had said: “The United States of America, transcending race and nationality, is already a model of the unified world. [America] must realize that the abundant blessings which God has been pouring upon this land are not just for America, but are for the children of God throughout the world.”

Some thirty original participants in the rally preparations in 1976 were in attendance at the banquet and received much applause and recognition.

Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, regional chair of UPF North America, gave welcoming remarks that were both somber and hopeful in tone. Invoking the themes and concerns voiced by Dr. Moon in his speech of 40 years ago, Dr. Kim acknowledged the challenges that our families and nation currently face, while also affirming that the only possible remedy to these challenges is the practice of forgiveness, love, and unity.

“Forty years ago, Rev. and Mrs. Moon felt a calling to bring this message, ‘America and God’s Will,’ to the great American people,” said Dr. Kim. “His approach was not a simply patriotic message; he touched the very soul of the nation, highlighting the challenges to the family and nation, and proclaiming that if we unite, we can overcome communism. It was hard to believe then, but it was right on target. America can’t fulfill its role today without principled leadership. God prepared great leaders like you to lead America to real peace. [UPF Co-Founder] Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon feels hope from you and feels that America is God’s hope. If we unite, we will witness a transformation just like in 1976.”

The event highlighted the important work that organizations founded by Dr. Moon have done in the past four decades to counter the three greatest dangers for the United States and the world: the rise of communism and atheistic materialism; the decline of the family; and the divisions among Christians and other faiths.

Four speakers were invited to give brief presentations and testimonies of how Dr. Moon spent his precious time and resources to resolve these so-called “God’s headaches” and to remind America of its role as God’s hope in building a world of peace and prosperity.

Dr. Thomas Walsh, president of UPF International, gave a brief presentation on the many efforts currently organized by UPF to create a global community of leaders for peace, including the inauguration this year of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP).

Mr. Richard De Sena, the president of UPF-USA, together with Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, the executive director of UPF-Washington, D.C., appointed four new Ambassadors for Peace: Rev. Karen Thibodeaux, founder of Lifeway Church of Dallas, Texas, and her husband, Dr. Bishop David Thibodeaux; Amir Adam Khan, a singer, actor, and model; and Mrs. Vicki Tiahrt, president of the Congressional Club for Spouses of Congress, chair of the 91st First Lady’s Luncheon, and co-founder of American Prayer Initiative.

For the first time, four organizations also were recognized, as Mr. Tom McDevitt, chair of UPF-USA, together with Dr. Michael Balcomb, president of FFWPU-USA, presented the Three Great Blessing Service Awards. Each of the recipients received a certificate of recognition and a $1,000 donation toward the work of its non-profit and charitable organization.

The First Blessing Award recipient was SeraphimGLOBAL, which works to combat domestic violence and human trafficking both in the United States and in other nations.

The Mayur Kabab House, a Washington, D.C., restaurant that offers free meals for the homeless, and the Douglass Leadership Institute, an education and public policy organization, were awarded the Second Blessing Award.

The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, which makes efforts to enhance the workplace by applying biblical principles and revolutionizing the way people view work, was awarded the Third Blessing Award.

At the conclusion of the evening, Mrs. Angelika Selle, the president of WFWP-USA, urged the audience to make tangible and significant efforts to keep the fire going and to find new and creative ways to make Dr. Moon’s message our own and make a difference.

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