An Iowa businessman wants to wish Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the Russian people a Merry Christmas in a big way with a three-story greeting card bearing the names of more than 2 million Americans.
"I hope to express my and other Americans' appreciation for the accomplishments in world peace by Mr. Gorbachev and the Russian people," said James Lawlor, 33, who got the idea earlier this month.Lawlor, president of Lawlor Manufacturing, a Fairfield-based maker of safety goggles, said Sunday he already has received a giant cardboard card donated by a Wisconsin company and that Pan American Airlines has agreed to transport the finished product from New York to Moscow Dec. 24 at no charge.
"I'm hoping the Russians will display it in a public area like Red Square, where the card could be draped over a three-story building," said Lawlor, who is asking people to sign their names on address labels and mail them to him.
The address labels will be affixed to the giant card and Lawlor said passport-size photographs are also welcomed. These would be placed on the laminated cardboard in the shape of a Christmas tree.
Because the Soviet Union does not celebrate Christmas as a holiday, Lawlor said the message will be translated to coincide with the Soviet Union's New Year's observance on Dec. 31.
The card's greeting, translated into Russian, will read: "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."