Today, September 21, is the International Day of Peace. The 2022 theme for the International Day of Peace is “End racism. Build peace.” internationaldayofpeace.org
“WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE?
The International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) is observed around the world each year on 21 September. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.”
To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters (in New York City). The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as “a reminder of the human cost of war”; the inscription on its side reads, “Long live absolute world peace”. (Wikipedia)
Coincidentally, I’m reading “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” by Jane Goodall and Douglas Carlton Abrams, with Gail Hudson.
I’m about halfway through the book. Today I happened to read about Jane’s experience with the UN International Day of Peace in New York. I’ll let her tell the story:
“Last year, on the UN International Day of Peace, I took part in a very special ceremony in New York City, along with about 20 high school children from across America. We all gathered around the Survivor Tree—the tree who was rescued after she was crushed and wounded on 9/11. We looked up at the strong branches reaching toward the sky.
Only a short time before, they had been filled with beautiful white blossoms, and now the leaves were beginning to fall. We stood silently and prayed for peace on earth and for a new respect for animals and nature. I looked around at the young faces—the faces of those who would inherit the planet wounded by countless generations of humans.
And then I saw it. I saw the neat perfection of the nest of some small bird. I imagined the parents feeding the nestlings, the fledging, the final flight into the as-yet-unknown world. The children were also staring up at the nest. Some smiled, others had tears in their eyes. They, too, were ready to move out into the world. The Survivor Tree, brought back from the dead, had not only put out new leaves herself but also nurtured the lives of others.
Now do you understand how I dare hope?”
In the opening of this book, Jane says, “Jane is almost 90 years old,” you may be thinking, “if she is aware of what is going on in the world, how can she still be writing about hope? She is probably giving in to wishful thinking. She is not facing up to the facts.”
But Jane insists she is facing facts, and she writes an entire book giving us facts to base our hopes on.
I believe in Jane. I believe in Hope. Maybe some of us are genetically wired to see hope all around us. I believe Peace is possible. When I say this, some folks assume I’ve lived a charmed life of ease. As if I have no idea how difficult life can be: despite enduring severe poverty, times of hunger, being in foster care, filling out welfare forms since I was 9 years old because my parents couldn’t read, working 23 jobs just to get to the point where I didn’t feel like I was always drowning, etc…
Still, I believe in hope and peace.
My imagination can see a world filled with peace, goodness, and vibrant energy. It’s all right there in front of our faces, just waiting for us to open our hearts and brains enough to bring it forth.
~Dream, Believe, Achieve~