Today is the 30th anniversary of the United Nation’s International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. The global theme this year is “Peace and Democracy: make your voice heard”. This day is annually dedicated to peace, and specifically the absence of war, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in combat zones.
Each year on September 21, organizations around the world offer cultural events that include school activities, music concerts, Peace Day comedy, prayer vigils, peace doves, live internet streaming, video and more.
According to Wikipedia, to inaugurate this day the “Peace Bell” is rung at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, United States. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents apart from Africa. It was given as a gift by the United Nations Association of Japan, and is referred to as “a reminder of the human cost of war.” The inscription on its side reads: “Long live absolute world peace.”
People also wear White Peace Doves to commemorate the International Day of Peace—badges in the shape of a dove produced by a non-profit in Canada.
The main guiding principles and actions stressed on World Day of Peace are 1) Peace Within—the minute of silence at noon in each time zone; 2) Peace Without—an act of service for peace that benefits the larger community; and 3) Peace Year Round—a commitment to a daily peace practice by joining with others to build a worldwide culture of peace.
Is achieving worldwide peace too lofty a goal? Maybe we should just settle for peace in our own neighborhoods. What about just within the four walls of our homes? Perhaps only within our own minds?
I’m not sure. But I am confident that if individual, internal peace is absent, there can never be worldwide peace. Peace on every level must start in the heart and mind.