International Peace Day - September 21st
There is no question that the people of the world strive for peace. Freedom from war, oppression and violence are a basic right of humanity, though many today suffer through these. International Day of Peace, or Peace Day as it is commonly known, is relevant to every human on the planet as this day promotes nonviolence not only between the world's nations, but in each of our communities, businesses, schools and homes.
In 1981, the members of the United Nations General Assembly declared the third Tuesday of September as the International Day of Peace "devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples." Some twenty years later in 2001, a new resolution was passed that moved the celebration of peace to the 21st of September providing the day a fixed date, and reaffirmed the day as a "day of global ceasefire and non-violence, through education and public awareness and to cooperate in the establishment of a global ceasefire." This was credited largely to the non-profit organization, "Peace One Day," founded by activist and filmmaker Jeremy Gilley, who since 1999, has worked with several other organizations and UN groups in several communities around the world to promote and create a specific day of peace. The creation of this day is also credited to the country of Costa Rica, home of the University of Peace, who were the sponsors of the original day.
Each year at the UN Headquarters, the day is commemorated with a special ceremony that includes a special message from the United Nations Secretary-General around 10 a.m. local time, followed by the ringing of the Peace Bell. The Peace Bell was cast from coins donated by people from over 60 countries and was presented as a gift to the United Nations from the United Nations Association of Japan. During this ceremony the Secretary-General calls on the people of the world to take a moment and reflect on the Universal goal of peace.
The United Nations Organization formed this day as public recognition of not only their efforts to promote world peace, but those of the people as well. Several humanitarian organizations have formed, promoting peace for all, to celebrate this day and continue their good works year-round. Since it's beginning, International Peace Day has grown to include millions of participants in all parts of the world marking our planetary progress towards the achievement of world peace. In groups of hundreds and thousands, people get together at local gatherings or peace vigils to publicly show their support for peace and to recognize that all peoples from all countries, races, religions, sexual orientations, and ages are all part of the same family - the human family. Many groups from different areas observe a moment of silence and meditation at noon on September 21st, as a way to connect with other participants.
The true meaning of the day focuses around the participation of people all over the world, gathering together to think about and focus on the meaning and manifestation of peace. Several groups supporting the peace movement have expressed just how much a focused meditation group can accomplish. On Peace Day 2008, the United Nations Department for Safety and Security - who monitors security related incidents - recorded a 70 percent reduction in violent incidents in Afghanistan on that day. This is attributed to the collective thoughts and meditation on peace participators shared in Afghanistan and around the world. Another peace movement group called, "One%" focuses specifically on this type of group meditation to manifest peace.
There are many ways to participate and celebrate Peace Day and anyone, anywhere, can take part. You can participate in a brief moment of meditation with friends and/or family or gather with others in a community-based event to foster peace and love. So, when you have a moment, try to think about peace and what it means to you and the world.
Click here to read some great quotes such as:
"I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government
had better get out of their way and let them have it. "
"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal. "
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Just as the consciousness of an individual determines the quality of his thought and behavior, so also there exists another type of consciousness for a society as a whole; a collective consciousness for each family, city, state, or nation, having its own reality
and the possibility of development."
~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi