Maya Mollgaard, who graduated in June from Red Wing High School, won the 2019 Kellogg-Briand Essay Contest, earning a $500 scholarship from Veterans For Peace Chapter 115.

The chapter’s annual Peacestock will be July20 in the Hobgoblin Barn, Highway 19. To learn more about this year's event, go to www.peacestockvfp.org

We must achieve inner peace before we achieve outer peace. I believe a tremendous part of achieving inner peace is gratitude. We must be grateful for all we have and disregard what we don't. When we envy others, it only makes us idealize more.

Peace is a state of mind. We must be happy with our present, let small things in life make you smile. We must be happy that we are getting an opportunity to do better in life. We must never regret our mistakes, but think of them as lessons and learn from them.

Our mind is our biggest asset. Without it, we cannot obtain peace. We must work our mind by doing things such as reading, puzzles, writing, and meditation. When you are happy inside, you will be happy outside.

Peace comes from living in the moment and looking for the good in others. Peacefulness comes from facing our fears and trusting that things will turn out all right.

While it is true that the world has become so complex and so technologically oriented that individuals no longer believe that they count or that they can do anything to affect world events, it is just the opposite. For only when individuals take total responsibility for their own lives, find within themselves calm and power of "good" and live in peace with their neighbors and environment, only then will force be set in motion that will eventually bring about world peace.

Nations go to war, often quoting peace as the reason. We must realize peace is a journey, not an end. Yet, in our efforts to obtain peace, we often do the most unpeaceful things. Instead of seeking inner peace, we seek to enforce peace on others. And that just doesn't work.

Peace is a gift you can give to others and to yourself. If you seek peace with a sincere heart, you can find it. Peace has the power to move mountains. Mahatma Gandhi had spread peace to the world and this was his power or else how could a frail man like him get India its freedom and Indians their rights. We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be achieved unless we first establish peace within our own minds. The only way to do this is by gradually reducing and eliminating our negative, disturbed states of mind and replacing them with positive, peaceful states.

One of the many things my parents have done is that they have taken us to Sunday school and church every week. By doing this they are teaching us God's meaning of peace. Now that I am older I am able to teach Sunday school to an elementary age group. Every Sunday I teach them about Jesus and his teachings about peace. I want to impart to them how we can live more loving and caring lives as he did. I believe that Jesus wants us all to be loving and caring human beings, and to impart that to others.

Historically, there have been tensions among races, within communities and countries. To live in a world free from war, oppression, fear, and terrorism would be a place of peace. The men and women in our military put their lives on the line for us every day in an attempt to give us a safe world. Sadly they do not always succeed.

The only true peace is what is in our hearts.