The Peace Day activities in Honoka‘a boggle my mind. It’s amazing what a little town can do when we set our mind to it. Of course there’s the Peace Day Parade, though the most memorable participants this year were my daughter and husband stuck in our car on their way to church. They had the honorific spot right behind the leading police car and fire truck. I told them the parade started at 4 pm; they didn’t listen.
We also had a Day of Mindfulness last Saturday, Peace readings at the Hamakua Youth Center on Tuesday, the Dead Poet’s Society at the Honoka‘a People’s Theatre on Wednesday, the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk on Saturday morning, Peace in the Streets on Saturday afternoon, and a concert on Sunday night.
It’s in all of these activities that you see the real reason for Peace Day – creating a peace environment for our children and making it personal. Whole families walked together in the suicide prevention walk. The store fronts are filled with peace posters that the children made in school last week. Children with painted faces watched the parade and accepted fans from our elementary school students who made them. Flyers popped up all over town with tags inviting us to take whatever we needed. The tear-off strips said love, courage, faith, strength and others. I took most of the patience strips. This is such a cool idea; it needs to spread.
All of this started with young people. In 2007, our United Junior Young Buddhist Association lobbied the State of Hawai‘i to recognize the United Nations Peace Day, by then more than 20 years old. They succeeded and now it’s official. Honoka‘a has celebrated every year since then. Many US communities have followed, but we were the first. Talk about positive thinking – this is visualizing on a grand scale! I felt the special vibe in this town from the first day I visited.
Sunday night we raised a permanent Peace Pole at the corner of our one-and-only four-way stop. Peace Day – one little town doing our part for world peace, bathing our children in an empowering environment that says we can create peace. If enough little towns join us, we could have peace by the time they grow up. If enough people reach out to each other across whatever divide they perceive, we could have world peace. But it starts at home and in our own communities.
Photo credit: child by Sarah Anderson Photography, www.sarahandersonhawaii.com.
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