House wants Sept. 21 for Peace Day
The Senate also will hear the plan, but it's not for a real holiday
In a world filled with war and violence, Hawaii is on its way toward creating a time to get away from it all.
The state House passed a bill Friday to establish an annual Peace Day on Sept. 21.
But don't think you'll achieve inner harmony by sleeping late or picnicking -- Peace Day won't be an official state holiday.
"Sometimes in the world everything seems so pessimistic. We need reasons for hope," said Claire Tamamoto, an adviser for the Hawaii Federation of Junior Young Buddhist Association.
While Peace Day supporters said they would like to see an end to the war in Iraq, they also believe the day could be used to heighten awareness about domestic violence and improve international relations.
"War is certainly part of it," said Rene Mansho, president of the Wahiawa Lions Club, a community volunteer group. "But we have to support our Americans who are over there fighting for us."
The idea for Peace Day came from the young Buddhists' annual statewide convention, when they learned how to write resolutions and decided to seek a day of serenity, Tamamoto said.
The group cited escalating terrorism, a poor understanding of cultural differences and a need to promote compassion as its reasons for having a Peace Day.
"Hawaii is a place that has a lot of aloha spirit for promoting peace throughout the world," said Rep. Ryan Yamane (D, Waipahu-Mililani) head of the House Tourism and Culture Committee, which unanimously approved the bill.
The Sept. 21 date was chosen because it coincides with the United Nations' International Day of Peace. No other state has passed a law establishing a Peace Day.
No opponent of the proposal has emerged to testify before the Legislature. A similar bill would have established Peace Day as a full state holiday with days off for state workers, but Yamane said that would have been much more difficult to get passed.
The plan now goes to the Senate, where a companion bill is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday.