There's a ceremonial week for almost every cause and event these days but perhaps few are as worthwhile as this week's celebration of Peace Week in the Brainerd area.
Violence is pervasive in our society. It's found on television, at the movies and on computer games. And sometimes real-life violence creates an inexplicable tragedy that defies any rational explanation.
Anything that can be done to drive home the point that violence is not the answer -- whether the topic is political differences or school yard disputes -- is a worthwhile effort. One of the most disconcerting aspects of human behavior is that after more than 2,000 years we still haven't figured out a way to resolve our differences without killing or harming each other.
The senselessness of violence was driven home by Sunday's appearance in Little Falls by Heidi Johnson, 17, a survivor of the April 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Although her appearance was not related to Peace Week, her tale of terror was a grim reminder of the day when two young people killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded 23 others.
Organizers hope the Peace Week activities will inspire schools, businesses and individuals to reflect on and talk about the themes of love, kindness, courage, compassion, diversity and humor.
On Thursday, guest speakers at a day-long symposium at the Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter will look at ways to create communities of peace. Information on the symposium can be obtained by calling St. Joseph's Medical Center at 828-7624 or the Cuyuna Regional Medical Center at 546-2339.
The Peace Week activities are not going to change the world overnight, but they'll serve a purpose if they only sway one person away from violence.
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