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September 2007 Archives

September 4, 2007

UN International Day of Peace September 21

NOTE the MAPs Calendar, at this website, September 20. There are details on the showing of a documentary film, Peace One Day, relating to the history of the International Day of Peace , a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence.
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September 21 is the United Nations International Day of Peace, and it has been so since 2002. It has become a major event worldwide.
You've never heard of it?
How did it come to be?
For years there had been a UN International Day of Peace - enacted by a UN resolution in 1981.
But Peace Day had always been a 'floating' day, coming in conjunction with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. It was always in September, but on differing dates.
In 2001, in the cruelest of ironies, the International Day of Peace was being observed at the United Nations Plaza on the morning of September 11, at the exact time that the catastrophe at the nearby World Trade Center was unfolding. That Peace Day celebration was cut short by the disaster that was happening in plain sight not far away.
Just a few days before September 11, the UN General Assembly had passed a Resolution setting September 21 as the permanent date of International Peace Day, and also upgrading it to be recognized as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.
Two years before 2001, in 1999, a young English actor, Jeremy Gilley, became interested in the International Day of Peace, and set about to have the day fixed at September 21 so that it would be a consistent day each year. By so doing, people could plan for the event year-to-year, rather than haphazardly.
But how does one person , an outsider at that, make a difference within a vast and incredibly diverse organization such as the United Nations?
It's not easy, but Mr. Gilley took on the task and in the end patience and persistence and plenty of diplomacy paid off, with September 21 being adopted as the permanent UN International Day of Peace effective in 2002. The inaugural celebration was in Jeremy's London, England, in 2002. In Minneapolis it was first pulled together as a successful event in 2003 by Madeline Simon and a group from First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis, in cooperation with three other nearby churches : Basilica of St. Mary, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, and Cathedral Church of St. Mark.
Often the heroes of big changes , such as Jeremy Gilley, achieve their vision, then they become invisible...people know what the event or outcome was, but they seldom remember who 'birthed' the event in the first place.
So, here, I recognize a Man of Peace, still a young Englishman, Jeremy Gilley.
To learn more of the UN International Day of Peace, and Jeremy Gilley and his work, go to www.peaceoneday.org.
For information about the UN Resolution itself, go to www.un.org, enter the site, go to the lower right hand corner, click on 'search', and in the search box enter a/res/55/282, which is the UN International Day of Peace, global ceasefire and nonviolence resolution. This document is in many languages. The English version is found several entries down. It is a single printable page. Pick the one with factsheets in the address, not the pdf.
The very interesting 80 minute documentary of Jeremy Gilley's successful quest will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening, September 20 at Basilica of St. Mary School, classroom LL 1. The school is behind the Basilica, near 17th and Hennepin in Minneapolis. Details can be found on the Mn Alliance of Peacemakers calendar at this web address. Do plan to attend.
Thanks Jeremy, Madeline, and the tens of thousands of people worldwide who have made the UN International Day of Peace an ongoing, and ever more noticeable event.
Only with Peace, is there a future for humankind.

September 19, 2007

WAR CHILD and EMPTY CHAIRS: Remembering an Era

Our friend, Annelee Woodstrom, is 81 today, September 20, 2007.

Coincident with her 81st birthday, her second book, Empty Chairs, is ready to roll off the presses. Empty Chairs is her second book, and chronicles in a gripping and engaging way 60 years of life in the U.S., including over 50 years of marriage to her Gentleman Soldier, Kenneth Woodstrom, the man she met in her home town of Mitterteich, Germany, at the end of World War II. In 1947 they married, and Annelee became a 'war bride'. (Kenny passed away in 1998).

In 2003, Annelee published her first book, the award-winning War Child: Growing Up in Adolf Hitler’s Germany, a memoir of her first 20 years of life in peace-time and then war-changed and war-torn and ultimately destroyed Germany. Annelee lived the illusion of prosperity and even peace in the 1930s, and then the awful reality of War as it devastated her native land.

War Child sold out its first printing, and has been reprinted as a companion book for Empty Chairs.

Both books are well worth their purchase price and much more information is available at http://www.anneleewoodstrom.com. They will be of special interest to, and great gifts for, ordinary people of the World War II and “baby boomer” generations, since they recount in a very vivid way how life was both in Germany and U.S. (I learned of the first book through a newspaper article in the Fargo (ND) Forum in 2003, and had the great privilege of working closely with Annelee as she wrote the second book this past year.)

Anneliese Solch was a good German Catholic girl from a hard-working and respected family in rural Bavaria. She lived a long walk from today’s Czech Republic; just inside what would later become West Germany. Her school years coincided with Hitler’s coming to power, and she wanted to be part of Hitler Youth programs, since they offered much fun. Her parents refused to allow her to become part of the Hitler Youth, and were not themselves part of the Nazi party, and thus lost out on assorted privileges which could likely have accrued to them through party membership.

Her father, then in his late 30s, was drafted into the German Army in 1943, and after the war was never heard from again. They believe he died in Russia.

Kenneth Woodstrom was an auto mechanic, a devout Lutheran from Crookston MN, when drafted into the Army in 1942. His service record (detailed at the website) concluded with 11 consecutive and often horrific months of combat beginning with D-Day, 1944, thence through France and Germany and into Czechoslovakia. He sustained permanent disabilities from his service in WWII. Only 5 of the men with whom he was inducted returned from the War; his Regiment was decimated in combat.

As love always is, there was some spark between Anneliese, the girl on the bicycle, and Kenny, the guy in the Jeep, when their eyes first met on a spring day in 1945 in Mitterteich. They fell in love. Soon he went back to the States with his unit. They married in suburban Washington DC in April, 1947, two years after they had last seen each other.

Their married years, as recounted in Empty Chairs, will remind all of us ‘of a certain age’ of many of our own experiences. Empty Chairs is a powerfully moving story of Family, and all that deceptively simple word entails.

For Anneliese, the German Catholic girl, and Kenny, the American Lutheran boy, and for their family and friends and neighbors, War united and damaged and tore apart in so many ways.

The books are and will be perfect companions for the monumental Ken Burns “War” special remembering WWII beginning on PBS Sunday evening, September 23.

Watch the series, check out the books at http://www.anneleewoodstrom.com , and consider their purchase for yourself, and as gifts.

Annelee will again be doing speaking engagements. Her contact information is at her website http://www.anneleewoodstrom.com.

About September 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Dick Bernard Venturing in September 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2007 is the previous archive.

November 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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