The United Nations, long,
long ago in 1981, established the “International Day of Peace”. 78 countries around the world recognize the International Day of Peace. And last year we saw over 700 events in different countries where people celebrated peace.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the International Day of Peace. There have been many good things to developing world peace but there are still many places that have violence and war. There have been battles between China and India. There have been troubles in northern Africa. There is war inside Syria, Ethiopia, and the never ending trouble between Israel and Palestine.
We would like to really celebrate that the whole world is at peace, but we cannot do that yet. At this time we must just continue to build peace, to talk about peace, and to work together to keep peace strong. Keeping peace strong seems like boring work, but it is very important work. We keep peace in places like Canada and in Japan by choosing good leaders. Yesterday, Canada chose the prime minister again. Japan will have a new prime minister too.
The International Day of Peace has the theme of “international”, but we should also talk about the peace we need in our own lives too. We need peace in our cities. We need peace in our communities. We need peace in our schools. We need peace with our friends and the people we meet.
There is still a lot of crime and violence that we find in our own countries. There is violence to children and to animals. There is violence to older people. There are lots of problems. We need peace in our cities. But how can we have this peace?
It is not easy but we need to be strong and to support people who are weaker than us. We need to help people who are hurt by others and we need to communicate with the police to help them do their important work.
We need to have peace in our schools and with friends. Sometimes we do not have the same idea. Sometimes we might argue or fight. Sometimes it is okay to argue and fight, but we need to have some boundaries too. We need to remember that we might not agree about an idea, but we need to have respect for other people too.
Peace is not an easy thing to build. But peace is necessary for a safe community and to make places where we can grow and study.
But there are times when we need to be aggressive about peace too. There are times in history where we must face very dangerous people who believe in fascism. To keep peace and to stop other people from breaking peace there are times that we need to fight for our peace.
These times do not come often but dangerous governments can grow over time. This is why you and I must always do things like read the news and participate in voting. We do not have to be angry or to argue with everyone that does not think like we do. But we must think about important questions too.
We must ask, “What is a peaceful and free community?”
“How can we build a good city and prefecture and country that is fair and equal for all people?”
“How can we build good education for all people to read, to think, to talk, and to exchange ideas?”
“What are things we must do for weaker people so that we can all live equally in our society?”
Here at Otemae you have a great place to talk about these questions. Your teachers are helping you to be the leaders for the future. What kind of society do you want? How will you keep the peace that is a core value of Japan? And how will you keep this precious peace safe for the future?