Running as Honorary Members of the World Harmony Run team, children from the Oslo International School, joined by their teachers and supervisors, waved flags to and fro as they completed their run from the Rådhus to the Eternal Peace Flame at Aker Brygge.
Scarcely able to contain their exuberance, with some fortunate enough to wield the flaming Peace Torches, the children nearly left their teachers behind.
Waiting in rapt anticipation at the Eternal Peace Flame were Ambassadors from 10 natinos as well as Charges d'Affaires a.i. and Deputy Permanent Representatives 10 more.
Heads of major children's organizations also eagerly awaited the arrival of the children.
The tempo and volume of the Marching Band increased dramatically as the children were spotted running up the alley on the seaside.
As they approached, all of the dignitaries spontaneously rose to their feet and applauded thunderously.
The Norwegian World Harmony Run team was formed from the group of runners currently touring by foot through Europe. As the main Run snaked its way through all of the nations of Europe, 8 runners embarked on a tangential run through Norway.
Arriving into Oslo two days earlier, the runners enjoyed a much-needed day of rest before resuming their relay on May 19th from Bygdøy.
Running up Drammensveien, down to Stortingsgate, the World Harmony Run team met the children behind the Oslo Rådhus.
Many of the runners on the team were experiencing the beauty and tranquility of Norway for the first time.
After the runners and children arrived at the Eternal Peace Flame, the haunting voices of a Norwegian girls choir, comprised of children between 9 and 11, filled the air. Resplendent with purity and saturated with love, the voices of the children reached deep into the hearts of the attendees and stopped those passing by in their tracks.
All were standing for their rendition of the Norwegian National Anthem, and even those who did not know the Norwegian language were moved by their breathtaking sincerity.
They followed this performance with an a cappella arrangement of The World Harmony Run theme song, composed by founder Sri Chinmoy.
"Run, run, run, run run, run, World Harmony Run! We are the oneness and fullness of tomorrow's sun!" they powerfully sang, quickly changing the mood from one of reverence to one of reverie and enthusiasm.
At this point in the program, the numerous dignitaries offered most moving expressions of their appreciation of children, of the World Harmony Run and of the hope for peace through the nurturing of dreams and aspirations.
One speaker said, "And, as you have experienced, this is a very windy spot, with storms and gales blowing over this spot. It has been a big challenge to keep the flame burning, but that's the way it is with peace, I think. You have to overcome the challenges."
In response, the next contributor said, "Working for peace is a very noble cause and involving children in this is very positive. We believe that children are a positive resource. They have a sense of fairness that is unique and when they have reactions and engagement that lead to activities for a better world, we have hope. No one can do everything but everybody can do something."
Another added, "I say that if children in the world had to run, let it be for peace and nothing else."
To the delight of all those present, the ceremony concluded with a unique performance by the Marching Band. Spicing up traditional Norwegian marches, this ensemble took advantage of the audience's attention by launching into a series of jazz-based solos.
As the guests filed out to attend a special luncheon at The Fragrance of the Heart Café adjacent to the Oslo Rådhus, the children of the school were told that a pizza lunch was awaiting their hungry stomachs at Peppe's Pizza.
The Ambassadors and dignitaries were deeply cheered at the thought of these delightful cherubs capping off a wonderfully inspiring day with a hearty meal.
As the crowd departed, the World Harmony Run team departed on foot to their next destination, a meeting with the Vice-Mayor of an adjacent town and a chance to stretch their legs on the open roads of Norway.
Their hearts filled with the encouragement of those in attendance and still carrying the sprightliness of the young children, the runners enjoyed a lighter, more airy cadence as a result of the morning's proceedings.
All those present, no doubt, experienced the feeling of genuine connectedness with one another, sharing the common bonds of a humanity longing for peace. Buoyed by the matchless inspiration of the young children, everyone left to continue their day with a sparkle in their eyes and with a warmth in their hearts.
The Runners Approach the Eternal Flame
Runners from the WHR team flanked by one hundred children from the Oslo International School approach the Eternal Peace Flame.
Oslo City Hall - a Striking Backdrop
The Oslo City Hall (the Rådhus) towers over the runners.
The Norwegian Girls Choir
The Norwegian Girls Choir awaits the runners.
The Norwegian Girls Choir Performs
The Norwegian Girls Choir performs the Norwegian National Anthem.
Children and the Eternal Flame
Delighted children bask in the Norwegian sunshine.
The Eternal Peace Flame Adds a Unique Presence
The Flame lends itself to picturesque photos.