Last night after my group, my friend Ken handed me his phone so that I could look at a picture that he took during his recent trip to China. As I zoomed in on a photo of him holding a Justin Carr Wants World Peace (JCWWP) luggage tag, I said in amazement: “That’s Tiananmen Square!” He smiled, as he hugged me he said: “Yes, it is Susan. I took Justin with me”…
Most of us know the political significance of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. However, after a quick internet search, I found out that it is in fact named after the Tiananmen Gate which means (Gate Of Heavenly Peace). How special it was that the JCWWP tag made it all the way there.
I could not wait to show this recent photo to Darrell. As I was driving home, I looked up to the sky and said to my self: “Justin we are trying to make some good lemonade out of this bowl of lemons!” It then dawned on me that with a little help from our friends, Justin’s tags have made it to ALL of the continents in a very short period of time i.e. North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and thanks the Chrissie – her recent excursion was all way to ANTARCTICA!!!! OMG. SEVEN JCWWP TAGS TRAVELED TO SEVEN CONTINENTS IN SEVEN MONTHS 7X7X7. This made me smile.
I was cracking up because I thought that most of the far away places were visited by some of my creative co-workers whom I once worked with either at Walt Disney Imagineering or Universal Studios. They are fortunate to have the coveted jobs and o take incredible vacations which have taken them to such places. Even though it has been many years since we have worked together, it is evident that our friendships have lasted throughout the ages and it is a testimony that Character Counts! I am grateful that we have all made a difference in each others lives and continue to at least think about each other.
I must say that one of Justin’s dream jobs was to one day work for either of these companies. He was fortunate to gain some of the benefits of having friends in “High Places” because he went to different events, and was able to have meaningful conversations with my friends; as he discussed the latest rides, or planned themed attractions.
Last year we were trying to figure out what we could give to Justin’s graduating classmates so that they could take something in memory of Justin -as they ventured off into their NEW worlds. We got the luggage tag ideal from our dear friends Harriet and Steve (who are also members of this unwanted club). They gave us a tag in memory of their precious son Dillon.
We had no ideal that this little tag would would literally travel to schools, colleges, and various places and landmarks within the US and around the world.
So, along with the attached note we gave each student a luggage tag:
To Justin’s HW Classmates of 2014, June 6, 2014
Congratulations, Graduates! Your hard work, dedication and determination have served you well and today you reach this major milestone in your life.
Even though each of you had different relationships with Justin, as we watched from the sidelines this past year, we witnessed your solidarity as you collectively came together in various ways to honor and remember your friend, our Young Renaissance Man. He cherished being part of your class and the HW school and it is evident that he was an integral and moving force of your community.
Thank you for your letters, Facebook messages, monthly HW Chronicle articles, videos, performances dedicated in Justin’s honor, volunteering for the after-school programs, participating in the tributes, speaking to us, smiling or hugging us when you saw us, and directly practicing some of Justin’s self-proclaimed character traits of being helpful, observant, sensitive, creative or skillful as you maneuvered throughout your daily world. Please continue to serve others!
As you move forward in your life, we want you to remember Justin and his personal place in your class. Justin was not perfect, but he did his best to do his part to create a more peaceful world. Justin tried to ensure that everyone got along, treated others with respect, accepted their differences and uniqueness, and made sure that no one ever felt alone. Whenever you need a boost in your life, remember Justin’s infectious smile, unique laugh, funny jokes or expressions, and the spirited nickname that he may have created especially for you. We all have the opportunity to make this world a better place. As Justin’s parents, we would like to share with you the lesson and values we instilled in him. If he were still gracing this earth, we would continue to tell him these same things today and throughout his life as a reminder of his character and worth:
- Do your best, and your best will be good enough!
- Don’t let other people determine how you act
- You can “BE” anything you want to “BE”
- Enjoy the simple things in life
- You can’t buy happiness
- Take a lot of pictures because every picture tells a story
- Don’t take anything for granted
- When people show you who they are, believe them
- It’s ok to “Stand Out” from everyone who tries to “Fit In”
- Smile and be happy
- Always greet someone with a firm handshake and look them straight in the eyes
- Stand up for those who need help
- Every day is a day of thanksgiving
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it
- Say “I love you” as often as possible (and mean it)
- Share your passwords for your accounts with someone you trust (including your parents)
Enclosed is a collage insert for your yearbook and a tag you can use on your traveling adventures to keep Justin close to you. Oh yeah, there is one more homework assignment from Justin’s Dad (a retired professor): “Let’s Achieve World Peace”. We know it will take you more than a night, one semester or even a year, but when Justin was 4 years old he prayed, “God, help us to achieve world peace.” And together, we can do it—we can make Justin’s prayer a reality. Even though this might seem like a daunting task, it is the seemingly small acts of kinds, authenticity, and empathy—like the ones listed above—that are the key to creating a more compassionate, accepting, and peaceful world.
Please keep in touch with us. We will always be Justin’s Mom and Dad. We would also love to hear about your memories with Justin and to see how you make a difference in this world in the years to come. Try and continue to live as Justin did: loving this life and living it as bravely, faithfully and cheerfully as you can. Congratulations.
In Peace and Love,
Darrell & Susan Carr”
As my dear friend David Perlman recently wrote to me on FB when he was traveling with his JCWWP Tag:
“Hey Susan Toler Carr the tag helps me spot what is really important while I am traveling that includes world peace. I was suppose to be in Paris this week but did not go and they had a horrible attack. We were in Istanbul and Israel on our last trip 2 months ago and they have both been hit hard. Family, friends, health and world peace is most important. Justin Carr World-Peace luggage tag is going around the world with me as a proud reminder of what I have at home and also what some others need. It is real cool seeing to young people that knew Justin rally behind his cause. I love you and your family. “
So true, so true. I often WONDER often about our new world. I do know that Justin’s impact and what he stood for will be appreciated my many people throughout the world in the days and years to come. Justin was able to travel to a few continents with us. Those trips will be forever embedded in our mind. What we now have to do is continue to life like Justin did and Love this Life and Live it as bravely, faithfully, and cheerfully as you can- and we hope and pray that you continue to do the same.
Thank you to all World and local Travelers for taking the JCWWP tags with you. More importantly, thank you to every one who continues to walk and TRAVEL the WORLD with us. Remember JUSTIN CARR WANTS WORLD PEACE.
KEEP TRAVELING, AND KEEP SENDING US PICTURES WE LOVE IT!
Justin’s cousin Laureina did this project at UC Berkley for her cousin Justin