How do children see a world at peace in the year 2010? The words from nine-year-olds on this page are among the unexpected dividends received in addition to formal entries since the Monitor's ``Peace 2010'' essay contest was announced last fall. Our thanks to these fourth-graders -- and to their teacher, Sarah Opdycke -- at the North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, Ill.
``There hasn't been war for 25 years. I am the President of the United States of America. Instead of the money for weapons we spend money on planting more trees and cleaning up lakes and forests. We also spend money on children's education and poor people.
``It is great meeting other Presidents. Once I met a President in Russia. He was very nice. We decided that we would work together to help the world and not have wars. We also decided we would clean out the ocean.'' Jason Westlund
``I still can remember when we were about to have war with nuclear bombs. Both of the presidents decided to put all the bombs on the farthest planet and they did.
``Yesterday they had a TV special and it was about war. It was terrible! A few weeks ago I went on a trip to China and Russia and talked with some children. When I went to Europe when I was a little girl they had to check me for knives and guns. But when I went a few weeks ago they didn't!
``I'm glad that there is no war because now I don't have to worry about my kids, and I know my mom worried about me.'' Emily Missner
``Peace came to the Earth because new leaders came to each country. Some of them were already in government. Some of them were mayors, some of them were vice-presidents, and some were governors. The president of the USA, the president of China, the president of the Soviet Union, the president of Iran, and the president of Iraq all had a meeting. They decided that every country would only have three nuclear bombs. If somebody set off a nuclear bomb, the first thing they'd do would have a meeting not a fight.
``And that's how peace came to the Earth, and all that money went to the poor and now they are wealthy. The money that is still left with the government will be used to stop pollution, make better education and better housing.'' John Zimmerman
``You see, about 20 years ago the President of the USA, Ronald Reagan, met with Mr. Gromyko, the leader of the USSR, and they decided to destroy all their nuclear missiles and they did. While the world leaders were destroying their nuclear missiles, Australia, a peaceable country, became a world leader. They showed every country how to be peaceful, too. By the end of the decade every country in the world from the US to Malaysia was peaceable.
``We haven't had a war since 1984 and that was a small one. Right now the green turtle, which was almost extinct when the Iraq-Iran war was on, is thriving in the Gulf. Right now the Russians and Afghanistanis are living together. The whole world in peace.
``I was in the movement for peace on earth. As a whole this whole thing has changed my life. This has affected other people, too. For instance, half the people I know are living better lives because the taxes went down when countries got no more nuclear missiles.'' Mark Prior
``If there were peace in this world we would be a lot richer because all we're doing is spending money and wasting it. We're not using the weapons!! What's the point?
``I wish there were peace because then Reagan would put his money to better uses, for instance, helping the poor, building better hospitals and better schools.'' Nic Piper
``I remember when it all began back in 1985. The European nation told the USA and the Soviet Union that `it is stupid to fight. This is one big world and we're all in together now. Let's have peace.'
``I love peace now. I hope we have it for ever. I'm 35. I have two kids. Both of my kids love peace. They also hope it will last for ever. I like peace because when anyone from my family leaves I won't have to worry about a bomb blasting.'' Megan McGrath