As it has done every year for the past seven years, the Wellington Rotary Club will hold its annual ceremony in honor of the United Nations International Day of Peace next week. It will be held Friday, Sept. 21 at the Wellington Rotary Peace Park on Royal Fern Drive near the Wellington library.
Here at the Town-Crier, we are proud to have supported this important community observance since its creation. We encourage those who haven’t attended any of the past ceremonies to stop by. It’s a great way for people in the community to come together to recognize and reflect on one of the most essential aspects of being human — how we interact with each other. It sounds like a simple concept, but as anyone can see by watching just a few minutes of the nightly news, humans often have a hard time getting along.
The United Nations established the International Day of Peace in 1981 and first observed it in 1982. Peace Day observances are held by individuals, organizations or nations with the purpose of creating practical acts of peace around the world, all on the same date. Each year, the Wellington Rotary Club engages area students by hosting a variety of contests in which they write poems and essays, create posters and submit photographs on the subject of peace and conflict resolution.
While the notion of world peace seems like an impossibility, it shouldn’t be viewed as an end in itself but an ideal everyone should work toward. From the smallest, most insignificant situation, such as two motorists fighting for a parking space, to the more serious, such as two nations fighting for the same piece of land, there are two basic options: either both parties try to reach an agreement diplomatically, or they further escalate the conflict. The purpose of Peace Day is to promote the goal of peaceful coexistence, and that can’t be achieved when either side views the other as an enemy to be defeated.
In the western communities, there have been recent instances in which residents and elected officials alike struggled to see eye to eye. Recent tensions among members of the Wellington Village Council, as well as problems in The Acreage in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac are prime examples of the need for peaceful conflict resolution. We understand that sometimes people need to vent. But that isn’t an end in itself, and it usually only results in the situation being exacerbated. Plus, while it can feel good to get on a soapbox and talk down to someone you disagree with, it feels even better when the tensions ease and you realize you’re getting along.
Most people would do well to improve their handling of conflict resolution. But that can’t happen until they make the decision to change. That’s where Rotary’s Peace Day ceremony comes in. It offers a chance for people to spend a few hours reflecting on the subject while surrounded by like-minded people doing the same. For more about the Sept. 21 ceremony, visit www.wellingtonrotary.org. For more on Peace Day, visit www.internationaldayofpeace.org.