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Bright and Brief

December 14, 1988

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) _ James Lawlor wants to wish Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet people Merry Christmas in a big way.

He’s collecting what he hopes will be 2 million signatures for a three- story Christmas card to be sent to the Kremlin at the end of the month.

The Christmas-tree-shaped card also features a greeting in Russian:

″Dear Mr. Gorbachev, we citizens of the United States of America wish to extend to you and the people of the Soviet Union our great appreciation in the spirit of Christmas for your courage and dedication to bring peace to the world. Merry Christmas.″

″I would like to have it hung in Red Square or someplace public,″ said Lawlor, owner of Lawlor Manufacturing, a maker of safety goggles in Fairfield.

Lawlor said he means the card as a gesture of appreciation for Gorbachev’s peace initiatives.

He is trying to get the signatures of musicians popular among Soviet youths, such as Billy Joel, who has performed in Moscow, and the group Bon Jovi.

Already, he’s received ″several thousand″ signatures on address labels, including one from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. And he sent a letter this week to President Reagan asking him to add his signature to the project.

Lawlor said interest has grown in the project since word got out.

″It’s exploding,″ he said in a telephone interview. ″I’m still optimistic about getting the 2 million signatures if this keeps up. I wasn’t totally certain that all the responses would be so positive.″

Lawlor said small photographs of people will be attached to the card along with the signature labels.

″This is not politically motivated. My intention is good will toward the Soviet people, and the people who have responded are seeing it that way,″ he said.


Eds: Signatures, photographs or both can be mailed to Merry Christmas USSR, P.O. Box 1166, Fairfield, Iowa 52556.

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