Mattie’s Park & Peace Garden

Posted on: April 20th, 2012 by jeni No Comments

Mattie’s Park & Peace Garden

Mattie’s Peace Garden in the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, 1800 Piccard Drive, Rockville, Maryland, 20850


Shortly after Mattie’s death, citizens in his King Farm neighborhood of Rockville, MD established the volunteer-based, not-for-profit Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation with the mission of making Mattie’s message accessible to everyone. Early on, the Foundation collaborated with the City of Rockville to create Mattie’s Peace Garden, a key attraction in the city’s 26-acre Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park.




A life-size bronze statue of Mattie and his service dog, Micah, surrounded by chess tables is central to Peace Garden, which was created based on visual imagery and quotes in Mattie’s final book, Just Peace. Visitors can also listen to Mattie’s voice from a nearby sound post, enjoying excerpts from Mattie’s poetry, peace speeches, and songs created with his lyrics. Throughout the park are quotes from Mattie’s books and speeches on benches and plaques. Each year, new personalized gift bricks are added to the ‘mosaic of gifts’ walkways and ‘concentric circles of support’ in the Peace Garden. These bricks, engraved with personal messages or tributes, represent sponsors from more than 20 countries.

Oprah Winfrey and Kaylee Dobbins with Mattie’s statue, Fall 2008


The park was dedicated on October 18, 2008, with a ceremony and celebration party was attended by thousands, including Oprah Winfrey, Nile Rodgers, Billy Gilman, the International Association of Fire Fighters, Harley-Davidson Owners Groups, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, school children, politicians, media representatives, and many other friends and fans. Teen band, Creation, performed their song We Need to Stop, based on Mattie’s 9/11 poetry. And, spiritual composer, Pepper Choplin, set words from Mattie’s final peace speech to music, and a combined-choir performed the debut of Look Up Way Down.


The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park is located at 1800 Piccard Drive in Rockville, MD near Shady Grove Road. In addition to the Peace Garden, amenities include a playground and picnic area, football and soccer fields, tennis and basket ball courts, bank shot, a dog park, green space and jogging paths, and a concession stand (open during city-run activities).





Children playing at the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, Rockville, MD



More about Mattie’s Legacy

Mattie’s Foundation

Mattie’s Message Today

Mattie’s Cause for Canonization

Return to Mattie’s Legacy main page






Return to About Mattie page 



January Spotlight

May 5 at Botanero

Cinco de Mayo Partnership Fiesta - FREE ENTRY - All Day Happy Hour & food specials, Music by DJ Genius, ZamDance performances -- join us for a fundraising party that celebrates peace and acceptance! Read more...

June 2 at Dawson's

Mosaics & Music: Make Peace the News -- join us for wine & apps, music & mosaic unveiling, conversation & celebration at a fundraising gathering to promote peace! Early Bird Tickets $25 ($30 at the door). Read more...

June 21 and 22

Celebrating Mattie’s life & legacy – 15-year anniversary Mass on June 22 (11 am) at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Derwood, MD, followed by a reception hosted by Mattie's Guild - ALL ARE WELCOME. Read more...

July 13 in King Farm

2019 Peace Day Celebration – join us for a FREE street fair (1-5 pm), all day food & drink specials (1-8 pm), and a Happy Hour Dance Party (5-8 pm) – arts, crafts, music, performers, cake, moon bounce… Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek