Sharing the sword of peace

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dan Meyer is a hard act to swallow. He’s also a cut above the rest, can pierce the heart and knows that the proof of things is what’s on the inside.

Meyer, who lives in Hartselle, is an internationally known sword swallower. It’s therefore only natural that his business card has about every sword-swallowing pun you can imagine.

Meyer holds tons of records for his feats, which have included swallowing swords underwater while sharks and sting rays swim around him. He’s toured with country music superstars Brooks and Dunn, is a Ig Nobel Laureate in Medicine and is included in the Guinness Book of World Records.

You might think it’s strange, then, that Meyer’s next appearance will be at this weekend’s conference of the International Association of Educators for World Peace. The event is being held at Alabama A&M in Huntsville and Meyers is one of the featured entertainers and speakers.

Wait. A sword swallower at a conference devoted to raising peace awareness? Seems like a strange fit.

Not so, Meyers said.

He first met the conference’s organizer, Arlester McBride, during a flight to London. Delays and layovers brought the two together and they soon became friends. When a last minute cancellation left the conference without entertainment, McBride contacted his friend the sword swallower. But McBride wanted more from Meyer than just entertainment; he wanted him to address the international group as well.

Meyer’s turning to his stock and trade for his speech.

He’s going to demonstrate sword swallowing, of course, as well as show the group swords from around the world. They are instruments of war, he said, though only if the art, heart and mind make them so.

Then, following in the examples of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, he’s going to produce a weapon not of war, but of peace. He plans to call three officials from diverse parts of the planet to the stage so they can all take hold of the sword.

What a nice idea and what a novel way for it to be presented.

Meyer said he hopes to share this unique message of peace at similar events, bringing along his sword and his swashbuckling style.

Who knows? Maybe that’s what it will take to bring the world together — a man from Hartselle who can swallow swords and talk about peace.

Let’s all hope it works.

– Leada Gore is publisher and editor of The Hartselle Enquirer. Her column appears each week.