Monday, March 21, 2011

Peace....Pass it on


Let me say it again. Peace.

How often do you say it in your home? Peace.

I grew up post-war. Peace was a word that was spoken. It was a word that meant no more dying. Families reunited. A world recovering from the granddaddy of wars.

Peace. I know what the word means. I remember a war in my time. A war in a strange land that took away the boys from my high school class. A war that shattered our lives....and a time of rebellion. "No more war!" We understood.

So I ask my granddaughters, "What does the word 'peace' mean? There are no right or wrong answers. Just tell me what you think it means."

Gabby immediately holds up her fingers creating the peace symbol and yelling, "Peace!" Nothing more. Just a word and a symbol. Interpretation of a girl, age 9.

"I think I know what it means," Sydney said. "I think it means world peace."

"Okay. So what is world peace?"

"Where people get along?"

"Yes," I answered. "Where people get along."

Peace. Have we let you down? Have we grown complacent? Do we forget to tell the children what sacrifices have been made for peace? Have we dropped the ball? What happened to 'no more war'?

My son is writing a musical about WWII. He wants to honor those who died. He wants to honor his grandfather who never talked about the war. Peace.

Turn on the news and war rages. It seems to be a staple in the news. The girls are on the computer, playing with the dog or occupied in some other way. No longer do families gather around the radio to hear what is happening in the world. No longer do we crave news from outside of our cocoons. War. It happens to someone else.

I learned a song when I was young. In fact, I played it on the piano and sometimes cried when I sang the words. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." Peace on earth. We sing it at Christmas. We pray it. We wish it for everyone. But, do we explain it to our grandchildren.

Nine eleven hit us right between the eyes. The pictures, sounds, horror of it is etched in our brains. Yet, these children do not remember it. Gabby wasn't born yet. She would arrive in October 2001. Sydney was two. They have no memories of that tragic day. They have no understanding.

Our world is small. So is the word Peace. We are all bound by an invisible thread. My brothers and sisters live in Japan, in France, in Peru, in India, in Indonesia, in Egypt, in Somalia. We are all bound together in this family of humankind.

Sydney and I watch the news together. She asks questions and we talk about world events. I insist that the girls watch world events and understand what is happening. Evidently, I have not told them enough about peace. I want them to care about and understand this world family.

Teach the children.

Peace.....pass it on.

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