Peace spreads across Green: Framingham event marks international observance
Monday, September 22, 2003
FRAMINGHAM -- For those gathered at Framingham Green yesterday, it wasn't a day to protest the war, but a day to pray for peace as the nearly 20 activists came together to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
They read prayers and peace readings, and listened to musicians perform as they joined with millions worldwide to celebrate the event.
"Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama are in New York City, and I told (the Dalai Lama) last week what we were doing, and he said he would have a moment of silence for us," said event organizer Laurel Tanenholtz of Wayland. "This is my passion, for people to be happy in their inner peace and outer peace."
The United Nations' General Assembly created the International Day of Peace in 1981, and two years ago, set Sept. 21 as the official day.
The intention was to have the entire world observe a day of peace and nonviolence, according to the World Peace Prayer Society.
This is the second year for the Framingham event. Last year, the day before the International Day of Peace, Tanenholtz called about 10 of her friends and they held a vigil.
This year, she worked for the past three weeks organizing it, and she attracted several musicians, including cello player Susanna Porte from Cambridge; harpist David Bishop from Newburyport; Paul and Patty Heurick of Framingham, who played the Native American flute, the Australian didgeridoo and percussion; and Christopher Chapman and Soni Singh of Framingham who played the Indian strings and flute.
The songs all dealt with peace such as "Let There Be Peace on Earth," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "We Shall Overcome."
"I think it's important to think about the priorities of the world," said Tanenholtz. "It's about starting right here in the heart. Peace isn't easy."
Patty Heurick said she never took part in a peace event before, but said the event was a good idea.
"Peace is an important thing for me and I'm trying to promote it one person at a time," she said. "To be honest, from the time I was very young, I felt I was the peacemaker in my family. As I got older, I felt with what's going on, I felt I wanted to promote it."
Several peace prayers from various religions were read as group -- Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Jainist, Muslim, Sikh, Baha'i, Shinto and Native American.
Tanenholtz said the various prayers were to show a connection between the various religions.
"People can create peace by making connections," said Tanenholtz. "People can connect through many ways. Peace beings with us. Our belief systems don't have to separate us."
With everything going on in the world, Tanenholtz said she's convinced peace will win out.
"What I've come to believe is everyone wants peace, everyone wants freedom," she said. "Even those who support the war want peace, want freedom."
(Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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