With the Winter Olympic Games in the news, as well as the continuing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, we reflect on our friends Ed and Adrien Helm’s amazing journey to the USSR to promote peace and reconciliation in 1987. Ed and Adrien, with children Eleanor, Joanna, Ged and Daniel, joined hundreds of other Americans and Soviet citizens in the “American-Soviet Walk for Peace” to encourage an end to the nuclear arms race.
Walking over 400 miles from Leningrad to Moscow, the six Helms, then members of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, collected all kinds of souvenir pins, flags and buttons given to them by Russians as they crossed the Soviet Union. Lawrence Romorini incorporated these into a 3-dimensional collage to commemorate their journey.
Examine the art, and you’ll see that Daniel’s little shoe contains BBs, a component in Ed’s powerful presentation in the Moscow Baptist Church, demonstrating the alarming number of nuclear weapons threatening the world. Each BB represented all the [nuclear] destructive power of World War II, three megatons or three million tons of TNT.
The family was also featured in a Soviet newspaper–that’s Adrien with youngest son Daniel on her shoulders. Joanna, the younger daughter who celebrated an 8th birthday on the Walk, is also pictured.
The collage has relocated with the family to St. Petersburg, Florida where the collage remains a legacy of the Helms’ “American-Soviet Walk for Peace 1987.” Adrien recently wrote “The photos are so lovely. What a glorious job you did with our memories.”