I love the idea behind the International Day of Peace. Here is one day, out of the many different observances we have created, to promote peace itself. Why does peace need a specific day? Because the other 364 days are for war.
Fortunately, there are some progresses towards peace. The Western Hemisphere is officially conflict free, although the United States continues on in its never ending war on the ideology behind terrorism. There are many people who support peace, throughout the world, but sometimes I feel we do very little to honor peace or even give peace builders the same recognition and respect as war fighters. Let me make a short list of examples from the USA
- Members of the US Armed Forces receive GI Bill benefits, encouraging a nearly free college education. Those of the US Peace Corps are not eligible.
- Members of the US Armed Forces, although popularly considered as volunteers, receive a salary very comparable to private sector work. The US Peace Corps, also considered as volunteers, only receive their living expenses paid for, but no salary.
- Members of the US Armed Forces are honored by various Congressional medals to reward valor, honor, and sacrifice. The US Peace Corps does not have such Congressional medals.
- Veterans of the US Armed Forces are honored through parades, memorials, and other displays at public events, especially at sporting events. The members of the US Peace Corps have no parades, memorials, or other public displays.
These are some, but not all, the special honors and benefits given to our war fighters, but not to those whose purpose is solely peace. I seek not to deny the brave members of the Armed Forces these benefits. We (yes, I served 8 years in the US Army) deserve them, and even need better health care. It is a shame wounded veterans require charitable help to fund prosthetics, for one example.
What I seek is to extend such benefits to those who are peace builders. Let’s have a parade for them. Let’s give them free college education. Let’s give them a decent salary. You see, we may have this special one day to recognize peace, but we barely do anything to recognize the sacrifices our peace builders make. Unueco Partio seeks any ideas to promote 365 days of peace and to treat our peace builders equally as to our war fighters.
For an extended look at what the US Peace Corps does, click here.