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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Today is set aside by the U.N. to celebrate peace

September 22, 2008

Bethany Beach Wave, DE
September 21, 2008

Never doubt that one person can make a difference.

In 1998, British actor and filmmaker Jeremy Gilley had an epiphany. Why
not schedule a specific day to celebrate peace? A "pause" in violence
would allow rescue workers to bring desperately needed humanitarian
assistance to children and civilians trapped in war zones and set a
precedent for other peace activities.

Gilley brought his idea to people around the world -- to students, peace
negotiators, government representatives, United Nations officials, the
Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan and many
others.

This joint effort culminated in U.N. G.A. Resolution 55/282,
establishing the first-ever day of global ceasefire and nonviolence and
declaring Sept. 21 as annual International Peace Day.

Momentum has built each year since the resolution was unanimously
adopted, but it wasn't until one year ago that there was a ceasefire in
the least likely place one could imagine -- Afghanistan. During that
24-hour period, more than 1.4 million children in Taliban-controlled
areas were vaccinated against polio. UNICEF and youth volunteers
organized a peace walk through the streets of Herat, followed by a youth
debate on what needs to be done to make peace work. There were arms
handover ceremonies, prayers for peace in mosques, education activities
and lands cleared of mines.

Kofi Anan said, "Individuals can make a difference and collectively, we
can make a major contribution."

Jeremy Gilley did it, and I know we can too.

Susan Olsen-Lowry,

Fruitland

Olsen-Lowry is a member of the Peace Alliance of the Lower Shore
steering committee. --Editor
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