On December 19, 2001, Falun Dafa practitioners from the States of New York and New Jersey, as well as the local government officials and residents of Orange County, NY, held a ceremony to celebrate the first Orange County Falun Dafa Week. The ceremony was held at the Thrall Public Library Conference Hall in the City of Middletown.

The ceremony hall looked dignified and auspicious after decoration. The banners reading "Falun Dafa" and "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance" were hung beside the front stage. More than ten sets of photos were placed around the hall for the Falun Dafa Photo Exhibition. The exhibition showed the great journey of Falun Dafa from its first introduction to the public in 1992 to more than fifty countries around world. It also exposed Jiang Zemin regime's brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The exhibition also illustrated the splendid actions of Dafa practitioners to indomitably safeguard the truth of the universe and their beliefs at the risk of losing their own lives. The exhibition touched the practitioners, the government officials and the local residents.

The ceremony started around 2:00 p.m. First, a Falun Gong practitioner representative delivered an opening remark. He briefly described Dafa's spreading to Orange County and the extensive support from all circles since the announcement of the first Orange County Falun Dafa Week. Finally, he thanked the government officials and the county residents for their support and help.


Practitioner Representative Giving the Opening Remarks Watching Dafa Video Program

Afterwards, a representative of Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman read Mr. Gilman's letter to the Falun Dafa Information Center. In his letter, Congressman Gilman praised Falun Dafa's contribution to world peace and strongly condemned Jiang Zemin regime's brutal persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. Mr. Gilman said in his letter, "We are deeply distressed by the ongoing arrests, torture and murder of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners in China. The beatings and killings of elderly practitioners, women and teenage girls, who only want to better themselves through spiritual practices, are so disturbing. It is difficult to find the words to properly describe such acts." Congressman Gilman originally planned to attend the ceremony, but he had to go back to Washington DC because of some urgent issues, so he asked his representative to read his letter instead.

Ms. Lorraine Hardy, the representative of New York Assemblyman Jacob E. Gunther, III, read the citation issued by the New York State Assembly to Master Li Hongzhi. In the citation, the state assembly stated, "Master Li Hongzhi teaches Falun Dafa, a high level personal cultivation system from China. Master Li Hongzhi's teachings are helping to improve our society and he has worked tirelessly to help bring Falun Dafa to the rest of the world."

For the celebration of the first Orange County Falun Dafa Week, New York State Senator Ada L. Smith issued a Senate Citation and the Mayor of the City of Middletown issued a Certificate of Honor to Falun Dafa. Both the Senate Citation and the certificate were read during the ceremony. Both Senator Smith and Mayor Joseph highly praised the Teacher and Falun Dafa's outstanding contributions to society.

After the citations were read, six Falun Dafa practitioners demonstrated the five sets of Falun Dafa exercises. Both the melodious Dafa music and the elegant and slow movements touched each of the guests in the room.

Falun Dafa Exercise Demonstration Talking to the Guests Interviewing Mr. Berkman

After a twenty-minute recess, some of the practitioners taught the local residents the Falun Gong exercises, and the other practitioners held a group practice of the five sets of Falun Dafa exercises.

In addition, Mr. Jeffery D. Berkman, councilman of Orange County and Director of the Middletown Thrall Library, also joined the ceremony. Mr. Berkman carefully viewed the Falun Dafa photo exhibition and accepted an interview with a reporter from Fang Guang Ming Television Center. Reporters from the local newspaper also covered the ceremony and learned the Falun Dafa exercises.