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 



December Spotlight

Peace Seeker

Our Peace Seeker Spotlight honors Kelsey VanNostrand – a graduate student in healthcare who chose to learn more about Mattie’s message of peace after receiving a scholarship in Mattie’s name from the Rosalynn Carter Institute and Johnson & Johnson. Read more...

Peace Maker

Our Peace Maker Spotlight honors Shelly Gross – a videographer who shared her talents with Mattie’s Foundation to produce the 2013 “December Prayer” poetry video, a peace outreach project that represented global neighbors in 32+ countries. Read more...

Peace Bringer

Our Peace Bringer Spotlight honors Yuka Saionji Matsuura of Japan – the Deputy Chair of Byakko Shinko Kai and Goi Peace Foundation, whose grandfather launched a simple, global prayer after WWII that is now on peace poles around the world. Read more...

Peace Sponsor

Our Peace Sponsor Spotlight honors Sister Pauline Petruzzella, R.S.M. – who has been an advocate for Mattie’s Foundation for many, many years, and who shares Mattie’s message of peace with people of all ages and in many diverse places. Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek