A Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace can hopefully help us probe what peace means–Soon it’ll be Christmas and we shall talk about the spirit of peace, and then do what we do every year and go back to our ordinary selves forgetting all about it. But peace is more than a wish, more than a slogan at Christmastime. In fact peace is a very complex subject. I forgot who said it, but when I was in graduate school I remember reading that peace is more than the absence of war. It would have to be, wouldn’t it, if we ever are to learn how to avoid wars altogether. For me the thought was the beginning of a life long search. Perhaps it will inspire you too.
September 21st will be the 27th celebration of The International Day of Peace. It was established through UN Resolution 3667 in 1981. The resolution says the day “offers a cessation of violence and conflict throughout the world, and the related importance of achieving the broadest possible awareness…” We include peace in our prayers but not in our schools’ curricula and rarely in our daily lives. And yet if we are to make progress in that area, we are going to have to be more inclusive, more pro-active and at the very least more thoughtful.
It is doubtful that the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan will take a day off, or that hostilities in the rest of the world will observe it. Still for the rest of us, let it be a day to think about what peace is, what it entails, how we can as a country participate in it, and what we as individuals can do.