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The year is 1931. The results of the global economic crisis have an impact everywhere. Nationalism and ideologies that violate human dignity are on the rise. In the midst of this, the Rotary Club of Keokuk, Iowa sends out 496 letters in late December. On the model of the peace pipe ritual practiced by Indian tribes for dealing with conflict, the Rotarians of this small city on the Mississippi extend their hand to their Rotarian friends around the world.
The year is 2019. In view of its bonds across the Atlantic, this same Rotary Club repeats the gesture, sending out letters specifically to the German Rotarians who responded to its mailing of eighty-eight years before. The Iowa club feels that this is its duty. After all, the city of Keokuk is named after the Indian chief who chose not to take up the battle axe during times of conflict. The peace pipe letters of 1931-32 and 2019 symbolize international friendship and understanding.