9/21, 6 p.m. Internatioal Day of Peace
Hugh MacRae Park • College Rd. & Oleander Dr.
Feat. music, poetry, drumming and more!
Free for everyone; all ages
“There is no way to peace; peace is the way,” said the famous American pacifist A.J. Muste. In this spirit, September 21st is the official International Day of Peace, which aims to serve as a worldwide reminder that deep down, we all want the same thing. We aspire for peace within ourselves, our relationships, work place, family life, countries— peace on earth.
Following the resolution, which was passed by the United Nations on September 7th, 2001, this day calls for a global ceasefire and non-violence. It invites every nation, faith and human being to honor a cessation of hostilities on every level. As events promoting peace take place around the globe, Wilmington will be celebrating and expressing its support, thanks to local Susan Savia and Carolina Beach resident Lynn Heritage.
As the founder of the southeastern Grandmothers for Peace group, Heritage organized Wilmington’s first participation in International Peace Day back in 2007. Grandmother’s for Peace is a non-profit group formed in May 1982 with the intention of “creating a better, safer world for this and future generations.”
Born in Hendersonville, Heritage has lived in Carolina Beach for 20 years. “When I realized there was no event planned for Peace Day back in 2007, I thought, I guess I am supposed to do it!” she says. “For me it’s all about our commonality as human beings. If we can remember that so many of us share the same values, we can create a space for peace. It begins at home.”
Taking her message into local schools, Heritage is a member of a voluntary program, What’s Wrong With Different? It was developed as a “hands-on approach to teaching elementary school students to value, appreciate, and respect the differences between people.”
The program for International Day of Peach begins at 6 p.m. and will be opened by the angelic voices of the Girl’s Choir of Wilmington. Savia will perform a mix of original songs and covers, and Ella Hill will sing Indian songs of peace, as Catesby Jones showcases an original blend of folk music.
The Wilmington Community Drummers will be adding lively beats to the gathering and will be accompanied by the Bhakti Singers’ devotional chants for peace. Honoring the tradition, which was started by the Cyber School Bus, children from the Pleasure Island Creative Writing Club will be reading their own poems of peace.
The Cyber School Bus website was created by the United Nations and invited children from around the world to submit a couple of lines of poetry about peace. Once collected, the lines were gathered together into one long Peace Poem, which was then redistributed to all the children so that they could be read throughout the 38 participating countries in numerous languages as a celebration of peace for the future generations. Some of the poetic words will decorate the trees of the park.
Also, Savia will be leading an hour-long meditation at 7:59 a.m. at Riverfront Park, downtown. The meditation will be happening simultaneously around the world.
“This is the global hour of prayer and meditation designed for people to pray for and visualize world peace,” she explains. “Some will be praying to make changes and find peace within themselves, also helping to make the world a more peaceful place. There will also be a moment’s silence at noon in every participating area across the globe, as a symbolic gesture of peace.”
The whole event will be inaugurated by ringing the Peace Bell, which is located at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Made from coins donated by children from all over the world, the bell represents “children’s dreams of gaining peace in their own lifetime.” Its inscription reads, “Long Live Absolute World Peace.”
“We have invited the mayor of Wilmington to come and support this positive event and have also made a proposal to change the name of the park,” Heritage says. “Hugh MacRae was a man widely associated with violence; we would like to see Wilmington honor peace instead and rename the park the Wilmington Peace Park. We’re looking forward to hearing their response.”
The family-fun event will take place by Shelter 4, next to Hugh MacRae’s big playground. Heritage says, “The impact of millions of people, in all parts of the world, coming together for one day of peace is immense. Imagine what a whole day of ceasefire could mean to humankind. I am honored to come together with a diverse section of the Wilmington community to show our commitment to peace on earth—it’s going to be beautiful!”