GLOBAL MINUTE FOR PEACE DAY
December 22, 2004 will be the fortieth anniversary of the first Minute for Peace, which 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.
December 22, 2004
Minute for Peace Day occurs on the Winter Solstice. 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 look at the Minute for Peace observed on December 22, 1963, can increase our vision of possibilities.
December 22, 2004, will be the fortieth anniversary of the first Minute for Peace -- a universal radio and TV broadcast which ended the period of mourning for President John F. Kennedy. On that occasion (December 22, 1963, at 1900 GMT) the recorded voice of President Kennedy speaking the year before at the United Nations implored, "Together we can save our planet."
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.
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 mass media to promote Minute for Peace Day and obtain global participation.
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.
See Earth Day Web Site: http://www.earthsite.org
4924 E. Kentucky Circle
Denver, CO 80246
MINUTE FOR PEACE HISTORY
From Power Lines Magazine
May-June 1967 (p.33)
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.
"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 no 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 Mr. McConnell in this effort,
please contact him at
4924 E. Kentucky Circle
Denver, CO 80246
You may email Mr. McConnell at