Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved through understanding.” - Benjamin Franklin
I noticed a brief letter to the editor of my local paper yesterday in which the writer pointed out that Sept. 21 marks the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. She suggested that the United States should consider creating a cabinet-level position in Washington, stating, “A secretary of peace should go along with our secretary of defense, originally known as the secretary of war.” Actually, this idea goes all the way back to Benjamin Rush, the writer continued, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and to Benjamin Banneker, a black mathematician and astronomer and friend of Thomas Jefferson, who published Rush’s plan in 1793. This sounds like an idea whose time has come.
In 1981 the United Nations General Assembly declared the third Tuesday of September to be the International Day of Peace. The next year that Tuesday fell on Sept. 21, as it did this year. In 2002 this exact date was officially made World Peace Day.
According to their website, the International Day of Peace “provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date.” Each year events are organized throughout the world, ranging in scale from private gatherings to public concerts and forums in which hundreds of thousands of people participate. “Anyone, anywhere, can celebrate Peace Day,” the website continues. “It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, or just sitting in silent meditation. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community, or government engaged in a large event.” For examples of activities which took place this year and for more information about various aspects of this day and this idea, go to internationaldayofpeace.org
International Peace Day is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. The website urges us to “take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole day of ceasefire would mean to humankind.” As of today, we can only imagine.
It is not too late to do something to contribute to this cause. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”