Today we observe the International Day of Peace, or Peace Day, all over the world. What is the International Day of Peace? What does it mean? What should we do? How should we honor this day?
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution 36/37. In 2001, it was made official and set to be observed on September 21st of every year to further its mission.
The day is devoted to the mission of “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” Simply put, it provides a globally shared date for everyone all over the world to commit to “peace” above all differences.
The question is can we do this in a time where it seems like the world is in peril daily? I know when I look around, I don’t see much peace. I see or hear about people dying and senselessly killing each other. I see a world where people are blowing things up, fighting wars and wounding each other with the mightiest weapon of them all – the tongue.
These things do not represent peace. So what is peace? Peace is defined in the dictionary as “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” It is also defined as “freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.”
Hmmm…so on this day of observance is the world to push pause and stand still from war and violence? Oh how I wish, but that is just it, it is wishful thinking. I wonder how many news or media outlets will even recognize this day or will things move forward today just like any other day.
For those of you who know me and for those who follow me on LovingOnMe.com, you are likely surprised by the skepticism and cynicism that you hear in my voice right now. Me – the eternal optimist, believer and spreader of hope into the world.
Again, in light of recent events and all the tragic things going on in the world, my doubt and questioning of the meaning and existence of peace existed before I began to write this article. Then upon doing research to write about this day, it heightened to unthinkable levels when I discovered this year’s theme is “Building Blocks for Peace.” This theme is centered on the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Developmental Goals listed below from the International Day of Peace website.
17 Sustainable Developmental Goals
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
- Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth
- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive, sustainable industrialization
- Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Take urgent action to combat climate change
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
- Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems
- Promote peaceful and inclusive societies, justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions
- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize global partnerships
All are wonderful, worthy and much-needed goals of things that I support and stand behind, but I must say that I was blown away by the weight of it all. Being slapped with the reality at the thought that we need to not only achieve, but sustain all of these things to have peace. Really!?!
I’m a hope floats kind of girl. So to say, I was crushed by the magnitude of these goals is saying something. It was like a ton of bricks had been dropped on me. It was yet another example of the overly complicated world in which we live.
What happened to just simply trying to commit to peace? Commit to “peace” above all differences. Fundamental baby steps please.
Seeing all those goals, I got buried alive under the weight of it all.
And because I’m a fighter and a fixer, it then begged the question of how do we dig our way out? How do we survive? How do we find peace?
For me personally, peace is a gift from God that I give thanks for and pray for daily. But, on a much broader global scale, I’m currently at a loss for words. And more importantly, I’m not ashamed to admit that.
Should this day of observance be more than a moment of silence, of course it should! But, should Peace Day be shackled by the weight of sustaining all these goals. I’m not so sure.
In observance of Peace Day, I encourage each of you to break the chains that are holding you down and simply commit to setting aside your differences with your fellow-man by:
- being open to listening
- being open to acceptance
- being open to loving one another
I think, if we could all just spend the day focused on doing and achieving those three things – notice I didn’t say simple things, because for many they are harder to achieve than you think, even for a day – we will have given the gift of peace to ourselves and to others. That’s at least an actionable start.
Peace be with you! Hugs and love!