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DEC. 22, 2005 - GLOBAL MINUTE FOR PEACE DAY - CELEBRATE!
By John McConnell, Founder of Earth Day
The first observance of a global Minute for Peace was at the time of President John F. Kennedy's death. His efforts to see peace realized through the United Nations were ended in Dallas at 19:00 GMT, the very moment on the global clock when the United Nations Charter was signed eighteen years earlier. In the Minute for Peace broadcast given at the end of the mourning period (December 22, 1963), a recording of President Kennedy was broadcast globally -- proceeded by Front Page announcements in many newspapers telling when this would occur.
The recording was from Kennedy's speech at the United Nations, September 25, 1961:
"Never have the nations of the world had so much to lose or so much to gain. Together we shall save our planet, or together we shall perish in its flames. Save it we can--and save it we must -- and then shall we earn the eternal thanks of mankind and, as peacemakers, the eternal blessing of God."
It's amazing how many different views are expressed about the issues which separate us. Too often we reject those who differ with us. The message of Christmas was peace and good will - to all people. Everyone can agree that we need peace on Earth, and unite in support of a Minute for Peace Day that will stimulate minutes for peace every day on radio and TV worldwide. This is the way to change the global state of mind from fear to faith, from despair to hope.
Let each individual who believes in the power of prayer, of goodwill, join with others on Minute For Peace Day -- December 22, conscious of being linked with others throughout the world on that day, as they pray for peace, talk about the way to peace, and purpose peace in their hearts and minds.
To people of every religion it will be a means to realize the potentials of their faith, that if they agree at the same time, for the same purpose, they can ask what they will and it will be done. On Minute for Peace Day they will ask, in love, for peaceful progress in their lives and throughout the world. To humanists, this will be a time to ponder peace, to celebrate peace with a new awareness of our common humanity.
Minute for Peace History
The first Minute for Peace, was observed globally by people of every creed and culture. We urge world leaders to speak out for this event. This will result in new hope and a new beginning for the whole human family.
Minute for Peace Day occurs on the Winter Solstice (in the northern hemisphere). In ancient history the Winter Solstice was a time for rejoicing. The days before that, kept getting shorter. There was fear this would continue and leave the world in darkness. But on the December Solstice the days started getting longer. Now people knew the dead leaves on the trees would yield their place to new leaves in the Spring.
On this great day of opportunity a new faith, hope and love can replace the dead leaves of the past and inspire cooperation for our common good. Together we can provide a new beginning for the human family -- a time to forgive, forget and start anew.
A Minute for Peace exhibit at the 1965 Worlds Fair increased interest and resulted in daily Minute for Peace broadcasts on many radio stations. These featured the ringing of the UN Peace Bell, a statement by a world leader about ways to foster peace and understanding. This was followed by a request that listeners add their prayer and commitment to help foster peaceful progress on our planet.
The idea of Minute for Peace became popular and played a role in ending the war between Pakistan and India in 1966. United Nations Delegates from both sides publicly joined in silent prayer as they were asked to meditate on peace and good will with determination to overcome hatred and injury with the power and benefit of reconciliation and cooperation. That night, in a UN Security Council special meeting, they declared peace.
Minute for Peace became the centerpiece of Earth Day, when we invite people World-Wide to join in two minutes of silent prayer or reflection as the Peace Bell at the United Nations is rung to celebrate the beginning of Spring.
Peace begins in the mind. The repeated participation by friends and adversaries, in heartfelt thoughts and silent prayers for peace when the Peace Bell was rung each year on Earth Day, helped end the Cold War.
Spread the word to every church, synagogue, mosque and school and let people everywhere know of this opportunity to tap the best of their religious values; to join hearts and minds in loving faith that wherever there is hate, fear or conflict, peace will prevail. Together we can make the new millennium a new and better future for the human adventure.
A call by world leaders and heads of government could persuade TV networks and others to promote Minute for Peace Day -- followed by a daily Minute for Peace all over the world.
MINUTE FOR PEACE POEM
It was three days before Christmas - And on valley and hill
A Minute for Peace - Joined hearts in good will.
We are one human family - Was the message brought
By the pictures on TV - Where before people fought.
This day then began - A Campaign for Earth
To eliminate poverty - Pollution and dearth.
For when people and groups - Seek a goal all can share
They will treat neighbor and nature - With heartfelt care.
Our planet is suffering - From shortsighted greed
But as Trustees of Earth - We'll meet our Earth's need.
MINUTE FOR PEACE REPORT
From Power Lines Magazine May-June 1967 (p.33)
Published by World Healing Crusade
476 Lytham Road, Blackpool, England.
The Children's Peace Bell
JOHN McCONNELL IS THE FOUNDER OF THE
MINUTE FOR PEACE PROJECT ENDORSED BY
THE UNITED NATIONS. BROTHER MANDUS
TALKED WITH THIS REMARKABLE MAN IN NEW YORK.
John McConnell is a man with a fixed idea. He wants and works for Peace. His obsession led to the creation of the "Minute for Peace" moment designed to unify all people through a minute each day in the Silence, centered in personal dedication to thoughts and deeds for peace.
In New York, I listened to this simple, humble dreamer with the gentle voice, kindly face and shy smile. His blue eyes glowed with enthusiasm as he talked. Like all people dedicated to their vision, strength, courage and perseverance give mighty power to his single-minded purpose. And, of course, he is a man of prayer.
I frankly marveled how this quiet soul has won his way into the confidence and friendship of world leaders and delegates in the United Nations, and established radio broadcasts of "Minute for Peace" over networks in many countries. The "minute" survives by occasional individual offerings.
How can anything stop a man who, when I talked to him, was actually sleeping in his office for lack of money to live anywhere else? He is far too busy with his cause for peace to bother about things like that, but confesses the need for funds to advance the work.
"How did it all begin?" I asked.
"Well," he said, "I have been concerned for many years, as a newspaper editor and a man, about the requirements for peace. It seemed so stupid that men could continue the ways of war when everybody wanted peace. The missing ingredient is the power of the spirit of man unified by love in a common dedication, and out of this was born the "Minute for Peace".
I discussed this with people on radio and television in San Francisco in 1963. One of these was Jules Dundes, Vice President of CBS Radio, with whom I was having lunch -- significantly on Armistice Day, November 11th. He liked the idea. Eleven days later President Kennedy was shot. I suggested to Mr. Dundes a "Minute for Peace" as an official dedication for the period of mourning.
"Then everything happened! The idea was spontaneously accepted, and endorsed by the Mayor of San Francisco, George Christopher, religious leaders and the Broadcasters' Association.
"The first Minute for Peace was carried on nationwide television and radio, and the story went round the world. The recorded voice of President Kennedy addressed the United Nations with a plea for peace and asked listeners to dedicate themselves to this great objective.
"Somehow this created a lot of interest and I was invited to attend the Peace on Earth Conference in New York. Soon I knew I had to leave my employment and dedicate all my time to the Minute for Peace project in New York and work increasingly with the United Nations.
"I was able to interest the Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant, and in 1965, on the 20th anniversary of the United Nations, U Thant issued a statement endorsing Minute for Peace, and his Message was:
'We live in a world of noise, yet our conscience is called the still small voice. As Dag Hammarskjold once pointed out, 'We all have within us a center of stillness surrounded by silence.' Unless, we heed our own conscience, we shall continue to be attracted by what is loud and garish and lose our sense of values. If there is no peace in the world today, it is because there is no peace in the minds of men. It is important therefore, that all of us should determine to set aside some time each day to commune with ourselves, to talk with our own still small voices, to devote even one minute for thoughts of peace and goodwill.'
"This was broadcast on all the networks in the United States and played in many parts of the world. It was followed by Minute For Peace recordings by many other world leaders -- and also by the children in the United Nations school here in New York. Which reminds me about the Peace Bell.
"This is a bell which stands in front of the United Nations Building under a Japanese pagoda. Before Japan was a member the Japanese Observer suggested creating this Peace Bell. It was agreed and the Bell was cast from the pennies and coins given by the children of over sixty countries.
""One day i was standing nearby taking some photographs and accidentally touched the striker and clanged the bell. Honestly, the tone was so beautiful it sent a 'chill' up and down my spine! I suddenly thought that people everywhere should hear this bell, more than any other in the world, as it symbolizes Peace. Yet mo official use had hitherto been made of it.
"So I spoke to officials of the United Nations and obtained special permission from the Secretary General to record it for "Minute For Peace". He arranged for seven of the children from the United Nations School to ring the bell ceremoniously. He chose October 4th, the anniversary of the Pope's visit to the United Nations, and together with Monsignor Giovanetti, Japanese Ambassador Matsui, and other U.N. officials, the children joined in striking the peace Bell.
Its first official use was for Minute for Peace, and now this Bell tolls on all our programs with our prayer that wherever it is heard it will help bring people to thoughts of peace and goodwill.
"There are probably 500 children of the delegates and employees in the United Nations International School. There are children from nearly all the countries of earth. I remember, when recording their voices for 'Minute for Peace', we heard some heartwarming truths. Let me read some of them:
"Peace is when frogs sleep on water lilies" -- Perry Fan, Chinese kindergartner.
"Peace is when flowers say hello to the sun" -- Debbie Oppenheim, Swedish kindergartner.
"All people can live together in peace as a family. We here at the United Nations School feel we are a family. -- Ahmed El Bouri, Libyan boy.
"Peace starts with yourself, inside yourself. If you are happy, then with your friends you will be happy and will not fight." -- Alexandra Pollyea, American girl.
"Isn't it wonderful? Out of the mouths of babes....
"Many of these thoughts by children were distributed by UNICEF, and have been broadcasst in Europe, Cairo, All India Radio, Australia and U.S. A. Children in the United Nations International School are demonstrating the true potential for all people of every race, colour and creed.
"We need to know that Peace is contagious, and get excited about the new world that is being born -- and joyfully contribute our unifying thought and prayers individually, and in our churches, clubs, civic organizations and women's groups all over the world.
"I believe Peace is coming. It is in the air. we can help speed the day when the full purposes of God can be realized in a new age of wonder and beauty."
I left the inspired and invincible John McConnell enlightened by the love he radiates. May God Bless him, and all our visionaries the world over, for they open the way, through every obstacle, for all mankind.
If you are guided to help him, his 2005 address is
4924 E. Kentucky Circle
Denver, CO 80246