The goal is peace
A gathering was held at The Common Ground in Gillette Park on Sept. 21, International Peace Day.

SCN/Chalifoux

The goal is peace

Story By: RICK CHALIFOUX
9/28/2017


SAYVILLE—Last Thursday evening, members of the public and local pacifist groups came together at the Common Ground at Rotary Park to commemorate Sept. 21 as the International Day of Peace. A warm, welcoming vibe permeated the serene scene, as the gathering’s core message shone through each of its participant’s collectively asking the rest of the world to simply give peace a chance.

“You picked the right place to come to tonight for this gathering and celebration of peace,” said event organizer Barbara Fitzpatrick. “The Common Ground was born after Sept. 11 as a place to come to have some peace and harmony in your life.”

The event featured speeches, poetry readings, and live music performances all centered on the theme of the day. There were also some booths and activities, including an award ceremony for the best Peace Day-themed poster. Later on, all of the participants came together for a guided labyrinth walk before concluding the night by joining hands in a circle around the peace pole in the middle of the park.

 “A labyrinth is a very sacred space, and I’ve heard that every time the labyrinth gets walked, the earth gets healed,” said Fitzpatrick. “And we all know that the earth needs a lot more healing.”  

Back in 1981, the International Day of Peace was developed by the United Nations to go along with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, the assembly marked Sept. 21 as the official date for Peace Day. Each year since, Peace Day has served as an outlet for nations, organizations, and individuals to practice acts of peace together around the world. It has evolved and spread to include millions of people all across the planet. Celebrations range from private sessions and gatherings all the way up to public concerts and forums for thousands of people.

“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations as people,” read an excerpt from the discussion of the U.N. resolution to establish the date. “This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limits, is a living instrument in the service of people and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace.”

Guitarist and singer Rick Sackett performed gentle renderings of traditional favorites such as “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “Imagine.” 

Sackett also commended the children for putting in the time to make their peace-themed posters. The winning poster read, “One word makes all the difference – peace.”

“Thank you, children,” said Sackett. “Creativity is to peace as destruction is to war.”

The event’s organizers encouraged everyone to practice peace in their own ways while sending positive healing energy to the rest of the world.

 “Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day,” read a message to participants. “It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, or just sitting in silent meditation. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community, or government engaged in a large event. The impact of millions of people in all parts of the world, coming together for one day of peace, is immense.

“International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political,” continued the message. “Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Ceasefire would mean to humankind.”

For more information on the U.N. International Day of Peace, go to www.internationaldayofpeace.org.

To view a listing of upcoming events at the Common Ground, visit www.thecommonground.com