February is a very special month for Rotarians – February 23rd marks the anniversary of the very first Rotary meeting held in 1905! One hundred seven years of service – one hundred seven years working to make our world a better, more peaceful place!

As Rotarians, we join hands with special individuals the world over – in more than 200 countries and geographical areas belonging to one of over 32,000 clubs. And during the month of February, we stop to reflect on how Rotary helps us reach the goal of world understanding leading to a more peaceful world.

For Al and me, February marks another important event as well – it is the annual International Toy Fair held in Nuremberg, Germany.  While it is an important buying trip for our business and a lot of hard work, we also look forward to a very special part of the trade show – the Rotary lunch table sponsored by the local Rotary clubs.  The Toy Fair is attended by people from around the world all engaged in a vocation related to the toy industry. Every day at lunch time, one table in one of the many restaurants within the complex of the trade show is reserved for Rotarians who are exhibitors or buyers at the Toy Fair.  Over the years, we have met some wonderful people from around the world at that table – sometimes even some of our suppliers who we never realized were Rotarians! During that luncheon, we get the opportunity to share some of the things our clubs and districts are involved in – and some of the traditions each of our clubs have.  Every year I think of the words of Jean Baptiste Moliere who said, “Men are alike in their promises. It is only in their deeds that they are different."

Taking the opportunity to understand the differences in how we each go about the promise to our world to make it a better place – a more peaceful place – is a huge step toward world understanding.  We have so many opportunities in Rotary to do just that .. from spending a few hours with one of our Youth Exchange students and listening to their hopes and dreams and to how things are alike and how they are different between their two homes . . . to spending a weekend with our Ambassadorial Scholars (with a special opportunity this year to spend time with our inbound Scholar, Lamis from Lebanon!) . . . to working with another club in another part of the world on one of their projects or on one of our own projects . . . to attending the upcoming Rotary International Convention in Bangkok where Rotarians from all corners of our globe come together to celebrate the ways we are the same as well as the ways we are different.  The ways to move toward world understanding are limited only by your imagination . . . it is only in the deeds we undertake that we are all different . . the promise is the same for all of us as we Reach Within to Embrace Humanity!