As hundreds of kids sang the traditional hymn “Peace is flowing like a river,” students watered a new tulip tree from gallon jugs they had decorated with symbols of joy and love.
Then a flight of butterflies rose high into the air.
They fluttered over the turned-up heads of the kids and then headed off across the long green expanse of the Wexler-Grant School.
The memorable moment occurred Friday morning as local officials joined with the entire student body of the K-8 school on Foote Street and the New Haven Peace Commission to unveil the Dixwell Peace Monument.
The ceremony was one of the ways New Haven, a founding member of the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities (IAPMC) participated in International Peace Day, which is September 21.
A high point, literally, came after the tree had been watered by a group of kids from each grade, the speeches given, and the new monument revealed.
Then the school’s art teacher, Melissa Frobel, released a boxful of lepidotera.
The peace butterflies had been ordered, online, and arrived frozen in a box, said Rev. Eldren Morrison.
Morrison, of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, one of the many participating local groups, not only delivered the invocation but also thawed the butterflies.