September 21st is the International Day of Peace. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, this day is supposed to be a day of non-violence and cease-fire. Combatants everywhere in the world are asked to put down their weapons.
The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982. That's thirty-three years ago. A rough estimate of battle-related deaths since then is about six hundred million people. That is not counting civilian deaths from disease, starvation, and displacement.. See the Polynational War Memorial for more detailed statistics.
Celebrating peace one day a year does not seem to have had much effect on stopping war. Normally, at this point we would be listing things we can do individually to make the world more peaceful. We have posted lists like these many time over the last ten years since Teach Peace Now's inception. We have celebrated school children's walls and quilts of peace and books about peace and peace activities for teachers and peace pledges and peace songs, and one thing you can do to make the world more peaceful.
This International Peace Day we are going to ask you to think about the numbers of people whose lives have been cut short because of war and violence. And the numbers of people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil because of violent conflicts. Right now, Syrian refuges are fleeing the violence in their country. We see their faces on the evening news. We hear their children crying in the rain.
Let's reach out and help someone now. Not with posters and songs and feel good about ourselves pledges, but with real action. Seventy-nine year old Hilda Schramm, the daughter of Hitler's architect, Albert Speer has taken Syrian refuges into her home. "Whoever has space for a refugee, should take one home." she says in an article in BBC News Magazine.
How will we offer a hand in this crisis?
By making a difference in someone's life who has been affected by war.
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