Originally this was written as part of the ceremony for East Greenwich’s celebration recognizing the International Day of Peace, Sept. 21. Things have changed. The Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Ferguson have all reminded us that, for many, peace is a far off notion. That is why I have submitted this a bit early – for it is never too early for peace. In addition, I am also asking that you set some time aside on Sunday, Sept. 21, for some moments of peace. There will be a few speeches, a Peace Walk, music and food. In short, a festive gathering to remember how small the world is and how we must all look out for each other. See you there. –B.H.
Webster’s Dictionary has defined it. Politicians, religious leaders and hopeful billions extoll it as well as cry out its name. The idea of peace is beautiful. It is imbued in the hearts of most human beings. But, the idea of peace is only a beginning – for ideas are often musings and the world is in need of much more. She asks for the manifestation of peace and that is where you come in. That is where peace can be defined. We are often reminded of those who stood tall in seeking to promote peace. While their deeds speak for themselves, they also seem beyond our grasp. What can we do to create change? What can we do to evoke a spirit of equality and respect?
What can we do? There is so much to be done.
The International Day of Peace – Sept. 21 – is but a moment on the calendar. However, such increments of time can contain the power to ignite actions that serve to make mankind kinder and more aware of that which is shared by all. We may speak of peace for endless duration, leaving it in the realm of ideas – but that falls short of the International Day of Peace goal.
We elevate ourselves to a higher plane when words and ideas gain action. Look into the eyes of a newborn. That is peace. Watch friends embrace after years apart. That is peace as well. See folks gathered together in the spirit of respect and understanding, that is peace that can heal the world. Peace emanates from these scenarios and countless others. It becomes alive in the souls of those locally willing to risk – from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Swift Community Center – reaching out.
The weaknesses of mankind, while many, must not be used for reasons to separate. There have always been those who promote that which divides over all that is common. Sometimes fear speaks so loudly that fairness is suspended. Let us not allow ourselves, or others, to exploit that fear, turning it toward injustice.
What is peace you ask? Perhaps it can be best summed up in the words of a hymn. “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.” Now is the time for us to be the example.