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Blessed are the Peacemakers

Have you ever had an area in a summer camp named after you? Have you ever had a monument built in your honor? Has a stamp ever been issued with your picture on it? Has an asteroid been named after you? Has a great composer dedicated a concerto to you? Has a diamond been named after you? Has a breed of flowers been named after you? Has a ship been named in your honor? Has someone made a bronze statue of you? Do you have a school named after you? Is one day out of the year dedicated to you?

Most of us have never had any of these things happen to us. But a girl named Samantha had all
these things happen to her. So, what did she do that was so great? She was a peacemaker. A peacemaker is someone who tries to help two people or in her case two countries to get along.
When Samantha was 10-years-old she was a lot like you. She had a dog, she liked field hockey, softball, roller-skating, and she loved to read. In school she got along great with science, but like some of us she had a little trouble with math. So how did she ever get involved in becoming a peacemaker?

In 1982 Samantha noticed that much of the news on television was about the two super powers of the world- the United States and Russia. She learned that both countries had missiles with the capability to destroy millions of people. To Samantha and many others it seemed as if there was going to be a war. Obviously, this filled Samantha with considerable fear.

She read an article in a magazine that had a picture of the new Russian president on the cover. After reading the article she was puzzled as to just what the real intent of the Russians was toward the U.S. She then told her mother, “Mom, why don't you write to President Andropov, the president of Russia, and ask him if he intends to start a war and why he wants to do that?”

“Sam, why don't you write?” her mother suggested.

Samantha hadn't thought of that. But she really did want to know the answer. After all, she believed that God made the whole world for everyone to live in. She didn't believe that people should destroy one another. So she wrote:


Dear Mr. Andropov,

My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren't please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.

Sincerely,

Samantha Smith.

After that she and her mom sent it to Moscow. Then Samantha got to thinking how busy a president is in any country and that Mr. Andropov probably wouldn't even have time to write back. Eventually, she had forgotten she had even written the letter, that is until the spring of 1983.

In April of 1983 Sam was at school when something strange happened. First, she was sent to the principal's office. She didn't know why. All the way there she tried to think what she might have done. But she couldn't think of anything she'd done wrong.

When she arrived the principal handed her the telephone. It was a reporter who said he had read a copy of her letter that had appeared in a Russian newspaper. Before this Samantha wasn't even sure that her letter had been received by the Russian president. A few days after this she got a phone call from a Soviet ambassador that said the president had written a letter to her and that it was on its way.

That letter came on April 25. Her father drove her to the post office that morning to check to see if it had arrived. Sam quickly skimmed it, but decided she would take more time later and read the whole thing.

That night when she got off the school bus Samantha was shocked at what she saw on her family's front lawn. It was covered with reporters and cameramen all asking her what the letter had said. It was then that Sam took time to read the letter in front of all those reporters. It was over two pages long. As she read it the reporters wrote down the words as fast as they could. The television cameras focused in on Sam so that all their listeners could hear what the Russian president had said.

In his letter Mr. Andropov noted Samantha's courage and told her that he liked her speaking openly with him. He reminded her that the Americans and the Russians were on the same side in World War II. He told her that neither he nor the people of his country wanted another war. He then told her that because of this he was going to see what he could do to discontinue further production of nuclear missiles and he would see what he could do about destroying many of the missiles that had already been built. He stated that his country was interested in the things our country is. They grow things. They build things. They like to invent. They love writing books. And they love space exploration. The last thing Mr. Andropov told Samantha was, “We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet, for our children and for you, Samantha.

He then invited her and her parents to come to his country to visit. What would Sam and her family do? At the time there were a lot of tensions between the two countries. But that summer the Smiths flew to Russia. And there Samantha was treated like a young ambassador of peace from the United States.

Later, that year Samantha was invited to the country of Japan where she met Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone. While there she attended the Children's International Symposium where she gave a speech on peace.

After that Samantha appeared on many television programs promoting peace between all countries. She even appeared on the Disney Channel in a segment titled, “Samantha Smith goes to Washington”. After that Samantha became an actress on a TV series called 'Lime Street'.

Unfortunately, for the world, a terrible tragedy happened on August 25, 1985. After filming a segment for 'Lime Street' the plane both her and her father was on crashed near Auburn Maine. Both she and her father were killed. Samantha was only 13.

But though she is no longer with us Samantha's peaceful nature can still be seen among many of the people she visited around the world.

How blessed are those who make peace, because it is they who will be called God's children! (Matthew 5:9 INV)


For more information on Samantha Smith, visit: http://samanthasmith.info