An iconic figure from the Vietnam War will be among the featured guests at an upcoming city event to celebrate worldwide peace.
As a poster child for the Vietnam War, Kim Phuc Phan Thi was captured in June 1972 in a legendary photograph by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Huynh Cong Ut — known as Nick Ut professionally — after her village came under attack by South Vietnamese planes, which mistakenly dropped napalm. While running for safety with other children, she was severely burned.
In 1997, she established the first Kim Phuc Foundation in the U.S. to provide medical and psychological assistance to child victims of war, and now is set to be the keynote speaker at St. Boniface Cathedral at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20 as part of the Peace Days event, which will run from Sept. 15 to 21. Sept. 21 is the International Day of Peace.
The Peace Days program has been created for the public and focuses on cultural diversity, family and the participation of Manitobans. The goal is to create an event that develops a commitment toward locally creating and expanding the culture of peace and compassion, organizers say. The slated events will include music, dance, film, meditation and a concert on Sept. 21 that will include Flo, Free Ride and Sierra Noble.
Key organizer Julie Turenne-Maynard, project manager of the St. Boniface Cathedral Project, hopes the event will bring the collective consciousness of Manitobans together under the banner of peace, love and understanding.
"After her experiences, Kim Phuc lived with anger and hatred for so long and learned to love and forgive. Then she created a foundation dedicated to the child victims of war. She will talk about her faith and how it helped her through everything," said Turenne-Maynard, who lives in Southdale.
"I’m really looking forward to it. It’s important for St. Boniface Cathedral to be able to bring someone like this, because it will make the city and province a better place, and it’s also important to unite people, regardless of their religious or ethnic background."
Turenne-Maynard added that it’s important for the community to unify and work together to bring universal peace.
"There’s so much going on in the world around us. We need to work in harmony to make it a better world. If one person can take one minute to try and be a proponent of social justice, peace and human rights, it will help our environment become a place to raise a community and foster a sense of community. If we keep on, the ripple effect will be positive."
Other local events on the Peace Days schedule include a Salvation Army Open Mic Night at the Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre (51 Morrow Ave.) on Sept. 17 and Hymns for Peace at the Hindu Society of Manitoba (999 St. Anne’s Rd.) on Sept. 21.
For more information, visit www.peacedays.ca