BY LISA PERKINS
TRAVERSE CITY — The pursuit of peace is very personal for Penny Concannon.
"After being an antiwar activist in the '60s, I decided I can no longer just be against war, I have to be for peace and the promotion of it," said Concannon, whose late husband served in Vietnam.
Concannon, a member of the northern Michigan chapter of Veterans for Peace has been instrumental in bringing the first local recognition of the International Day of Peace with events planned for Friday, Sept. 21.
The United National General Assembly established the International Day of Peace in 1981 in hopes of having people around the world observing a day of peace and nonviolence.
Tim Keenan, president of the local group, says he hopes celebrating the day will help build a culture of peace for people, our country and in the world.
"When I served in Vietnam, the day before Christmas and Christmas Day there was a truce, no one fired a weapon for two days. I always thought, why can't we do this every day," Keenan said.
Events for the day include a sunrise greeting, beginning at 8 a.m., at Clinch Park beach followed by Mayor Michael Estes proclaiming the International Day of Peace in Traverse City at 9 a.m. at the Governmental Center.
A coalition panel will convene from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the History Center of Traverse City to discuss how to create a culture of peace in Traverse City. A potluck dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. with music and speakers from 6 to 9 p.m. at InsideOut Gallery.
"The bottom line is we are working for a peaceful alternative to war, we just really want all of our troops to come home," Keenan said.
All of the events are free and the community is invited to attend.
For more information, visit www.internationaldayofpeace.org or www.vfp50.org.