It all started in June 1975 at the first-ever Canadian International Rally in Brandon, Manitoba. During the Rally, Wally Byam Caravan Club International President Bruce MacLean and First Lady Wilma, along with the people of Brandon, presented a sculpture called Hands of Peace to the nearby International Peace Garden, which was established in 1932 as a symbol of peace between the United States and Canada. The sculpture’s dedication was well-attended – more than 1,000 people came – but, sadly, it was removed after only a few years due to deterioration.
Thirty-six years later, in 2011, the North Dakota Peace Garden Unit had the idea to replace Hands of Peace with a similar sculpture. During a unit rally at the International Peace Garden, President Vern Zink and Past International President Jerry Larson met with Doug Hevenor, the International Peace Garden CEO and garden administrator, to discuss their idea. The new sculpture would mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812, and it would be made of a more lasting, durable material to ensure its longevity.
During the WBCCI Winter IBT meeting in 2012, the creation of the sculpture was formally approved, and a Special Committee comprising Region 7 members was convened. The committee tapped Minnesota artist and sculptor Arthur H. Norby to bring to life the concept for the new sculpture: two hands releasing a dove.
Thanks to the Special Committee’s tireless efforts for the next 4 ½ years, nearly $80,000 was raised for the creation of the sculpture. Contributions came from not only WBCCI members, but also from Airstream, Inc. and other corporate and individual donors. Everyone’s hard work paid off in 2015, when Norby personally delivered the finished product to the International Peace Garden.
A Promise of Peace is highly polished and cast in stainless steel, ensuring visitors can enjoy it for generations to come. It was installed in the International Peace Garden fountain pool on June 7, 2016, and dedicated during the WBCCI Monument of Peace Rededication Special Events Rally on July 24, 2016. The dedication was a great success and culminated with the signing of a Peace Accord by Manitoba Legislative Assembly Member Doyle Piwniuk and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, marking 200 years of peace between their nations.
Forty-one years after the first Canadian International Rally, the United States and Canada came together once again to celebrate at the International Peace Garden – all thanks to a group of dedicated WBCCI members.