When delegates from 50 nations met in San Francisco to sign the United Nations Charter in June 1945, they found a special message in their hotel room: a vase with a single rose bearing a special name.

When Francis Meilland, a Rotarian from Lyon, France, first bred a yellow rose with crimson edges, he had no idea that the sweet-smelling bloom would one day be famous across the globe as a symbol of world peace even though rose breeders have always networked across the globe. "I procure hardened, partly frost-resistant, partly old varieties of rose from all over the world and experiment with them. Sometimes I'm lucky and a new variety is born," Francis Meilland once told a fellow horticulturalist. In 1935, Meilland was very lucky indeed. Following several attempts at cross-breeding, he and his father Antoine managed to create a seedling that was given the code number 3-35-40. The plant from this seedling had healthy, beautiful leaves and yellow flowers tinged with pink or crimson edges.When the 50 country representatives and a delegate from Rotary International came to San Francisco to found the United Nations on June 22, 1945, and shortly afterwards to sign the original UN Charter on June 26, each representative finds a vase with a Gloria Dei Peace Rose and a message in his hotel room:
"Here is the Peace Rose, which was later baptized in Pasadena, California, on the day Berlin fell. May this rose influence all people of good will, for the creation of a just and lasting peace."In the next ten years of peace, the (Gloria Dei) Peace Rose will be sold 30 million times. In 1976 she was awarded the title "World Rose" as the first breed ever.

Francis Meilland died on June 15, 1958 at the age of just 46. His simple coffin is covered with his own cultivation Gloria Dei Peace Rose. Rose friends, scientists, and professional organizations from all over the world give him the last escort. His message was to make the world happy with something beautiful. In 1945 the UN delegates could not have found a better Rotary ambassador in him and his rose friends.

The Chartering of the United Nations and Rotary's Continuing Relationship from its beginnings in San Francisco to New York City is an eternal commitment to world peace and is celebrated each year on October 24th, United Nations Day.
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