In Honor of International Peace


Grace Scheidler

September 21st is the International Day of Peace.

Back in 1982, the world was a vastly different place. Michael Jackson had just dropped his record-breaking album Thriller, Time magazine had named a computer their person of the year, and Canada gained official independence from Her Majesty the Queen.

The Epcot theme park had just recently opened in Walt Disney World, Sony had released the first CD player (but who even knows what CD’s are anymore?), and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (featuring a four-year-old Drew Barrymore) was showing in theaters for the very first time.

A lot has changed in the last thirty-plus years, but one thing hasn’t: our common quest for world peace. The U.N. had voted near-unanimously back in 1981 on a resolution to establish International Peace Day (the date was fixed later in 2001), a day devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” In this day and age, when it seems like all that’s featured in the news are terrorist attacks and shooting counts and death tolls from this or that, we are a culture greatly in need of peace and healing.

This worldwide celebration involves local and national events, starting out with the Secretary General of the U.N. ringing the Japanese Peace Bell in the Peace Garden at the U.N. Headquarters. At noon, there is a minute-long silence observed in all timezones around the world, and all throughout the Chicagoland area are various events being hosted in honor of Peace Day. If you’re interested in finding an event near you, the UN has put together a handy color-coded map of all of the events happening nearby (you can find that conveniently located here), or if you’d like to learn a bit more about the International Day of Peace, you can check out the official website here.