by Ed Lehman
For the second year in a row the peace flag was raised at Regina City Hall to mark the International Day of Peace. Leading off the speakers Florence Stratton thanked the First Nations for honouring the treaties with the settlers and welcomed everyone present.
Peter Gilmer, of the Downtown Chaplaincy of the United Church, read a version of a Franciscan Peace Blessing. Particularly timely were the words: “May the Creator bless us with anger at violence, oppression and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace” and “May the Creator bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, hunger and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them.”
Ed Lehman, peace activist, referred to the recently concluded Defence Policy Review of the federal government and warned of the danger that Canada may soon join the U.S. ballistic missile “defence” program of the U.S. He also announced a panel discussion at the University of Regina on October 8th titled Keep Space for Peace or Why Canada should not join the U.S. “ballistic missile defence system”.
Florence Stratton was quoted in the LeaderPost (September 21): “We know that peace is a long hard struggle and we just hope that more and more people become engaged in it so that peace becomes not just a possibility but a reality.” Florence also urged everyone present to let our Members of Parliament know we want Canada to be a peacemaker. She pointed out that Canada has been at war since 2003 and should stop selling weapons. She also observed that Canada recently voted at the United Nations against a plan to ban nuclear weapons. As noted by the LeaderPost
City Councillor Bob Hawkins,Ward 2, was on hand for the flag raising and sees this as a way for the city to show it is welcoming and there for everyone. He also talked about how the yearning for peace is universal. Mr. Hawkins reminded the gathering that “Without peace: We cannot live free from violence nor from destruction? we cannot feed the world’s population? we cannot build our homes, nor educate our young? we cannot cause our creativity, nor our ingenuity to flourish.” He also added: Without peace we cannot sustain our environment? we cannot advance our human dignity, nor our human rights, we cannot participate in our democracy, nor build our civil society? we cannot tell stories of the past, nor dream dreams for our future.”
The event concluded with the the Reel AntiSuppressants leading in the singing of a very moving rendition of “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream.” The event was organized by PeaceQuest Regina.