The Big Four Railways & Nationalisation

On 1 January 1923, almost all the railway companies were grouped into the Big Four: the Great Western Railway, the London and North Eastern Railway, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the Southern Railway companies. A number of other lines, already operating as joint railways, remained separate from the Big Four; these included the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway and the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. The “Big Four” were joint-stock public companies and they continued to run the railway system until 31 December 1947.The LNER Class A4 streamlined express trains of the 1930s offered a high-speed alternative to road transportThe competition from road transport during the 1920s and 1930s greatly reduced the revenue available to the railways, even though the needs for maintenance on the network had never been higher, as investment had been deferred over the past decade. Rail companies accused the government of favouring road haulage through the construction of roads subsidised by the ratepayer, while restricting its ability to use flexible pricing because it was held to nationally-agreed rate cards. The government response was to commission several inconclusive reports; the Salter Report of 1933 finally recommended that road transport should be taxed directly to fund the roads and increased Vehicle Excise Duty and fuel duties were introduced. It also noted that many small lines would never be likely to compete with road haulage. Although these road pricing changes helped their survival, the railways entered a period of slow decline, owing to a lack of investment and changes in transport policy and lifestyles.During the Second World War, the companies’ managements joined together, effectively operating as one company. Assisting the country’s ‘war effort’ put a severe strain on the railways’ resources and a substantial maintenance backlog developed. After 1945, for both practical and ideological reasons, the then  Labour government decided to bring the rail service into the public sector.

So On 1 January  1948, the railways were nationalised to form British Railways (latterly “British Rail”) under the control of the British Transport Commission.Though there were few initial changes to the service, usage increased and the network became profitable. Regeneration of track and stations was completed by 1954. In the same year, changes to the British Transport Commission, including the privatisation of road haulage, ended the coordination of transport in the UK. Rail revenue fell and, in 1955, the network again ceased to be profitable. The mid-1950s saw the hasty introduction of diesel and electric rolling stock to replace steam in a modernisation plan costing many millions of pounds but the expected transfer back from road to rail did not occur and losses began to mountThis failure to make the railways more profitable through investment led governments of all political persuasions to restrict rail investment to a drip feed and seek economies through cutbacks.The desire for profitability led to a major reduction in the network during the mid-1960s. Dr. Richard Beeching was given the task by the government of re-organising the railways (“the Beeching Axe”).This policy resulted in many branch lines and secondary routes being closed because they were deemed uneconomic. The closure of stations serving rural communities removed much feeder traffic from main line passenger services. The closure of many freight depots that had been used by larger industries such as coal andiron led to much freight transferring to road haulage. The closures were extremely unpopular with the general public at that time and remain so today.Passenger levels decreased steadily from the late fifties to late seventies. Passenger services then experienced a renaissance with the introduction of the high-speed Intercity 125 trains in the late 1970s and early 1980s.The 1980s saw severe cuts in government funding and above-inflation increases in fares, but the service became more cost-effective.

Between 1994 and 1997, British Rail was privatised Ownership of the track and infrastructure passed to Railtrack, passenger operations were franchised to individual private sector operators (originally there were 25 franchises) and the freight services sold outright (six companies were set up, but five of these were sold to the same buyer).]The Conservative government under John Major said that privatisation would see an improvement in passenger services. Passenger levels have since increased strongly

Tribute to Joe Orton

lootposterEnglish playwright and author Joe Orton, was  Born 1 January 1933. His public career was short but prolific, lasting from 1964 until his death. During this brief period he shocked, outraged, and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies. The adjective Ortonesque is sometimes used to refer to work characterised by a similarly dark yet farcical cynicism. He attended a writing course at Clark’s College in Leicester from 1945 to 1947.He then began working as a junior clerk on £3 a week.Orton became interested in performing in the theatre around 1949 and joined a number of different dramatic societies, including the prestigious Leicester Dramatic Society. While working on amateur productions he was also determined to improve his appearance and physique, buying bodybuilding courses, taking elocution lessons, and trying to redress his lack of education and culture. He applied for a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in November 1950. He was accepted, and left the East Midlands for London. His entrance into RADA was delayed until May 1951 by appendicitis.

Orton met Kenneth Halliwell at RADA in 1951 and moved into a West Hampstead flat with him and two other students in June of that year. Halliwell was seven years older than Orton and of independent means, having a substantial inheritance. They quickly formed a strong relationship and became lovers.After graduating, both Orton and Halliwell went into regional repertory work: Orton spent four months in Ipswich as an assistant stage manager; Halliwell in Llandudno, Wales. Both returned to London and became writers. They collaborated on a number of unpublished novels (often imitating Ronald Firbank), and had little success. The rejection of their great hope, The Last Days of Sodom, in 1957 led them to solo works.Orton would later return to the books for ideas; many show glimpses of his stage-play style.

Confident of their “specialness”, Orton and Halliwell refused to work for long periods. They subsisted on Halliwell’s money (and unemployment benefits) and were forced to follow an ascetic life in order to restrict their outgoings to £5 a week. From 1957–1959, they worked in six-month stretches at Cadbury’s to raise money for a new flat; they moved into a small, austere flat at 25 Noel Road inIslington in 1959. A lack of serious work led  Orton and his friends to amuse themselves with pranks and hoaxes. Orton created the alter ego Edna Welthorpe, an elderly theatre snob, whom he would later revive to stir controversy over his plays. Orton chose the name as an allusion to Terence Rattigan’s “Aunt Edna”, Rattigan’s archetypal playgoer.They would also steal books from the local library and modify the cover art or the blurbs before returning them to the library. A volume of poems by John Betjeman, for example, was returned to the library with a new dustjacket featuring a photograph of a nearly naked, heavily tattooed, middle-aged man. The couple decorated their flat with many of the prints. They were eventually discovered and prosecuted for stealing and damaging library books in May 1962.

The incident was reported in Daily Mirror as “Gorilla in the Roses”. They were charged with five counts of theft and malicious damage, admitted damaging more than 70 books, and were sentenced to prison for six months (released September 1962) and fined £262. Orton and Halliwell felt that that sentence was unduly harsh “because we were queers”. However, prison would be a crucial formative experience for Orton; the isolation from Halliwell would allow him to break free of him creatively; and he would clearly see what he considered the corruptness, priggishness, and double standards of a purportedly liberal country. As Orton put it, ‘It affected my attitude towards society. Before I had been vaguely conscious of something rotten somewhere, prison crystallised this. The old whore society really lifted up her skirts and the stench was pretty foul… Being in the nick brought detachment to my writing. I wasn’t involved anymore. And suddenly it worked.’ The book covers that Orton and Halliwell vandalised have since become a valued part of the Islington Local History Centre collection. Some are exhibited in the Islington Museum. A collection of the book covers is available online.

Orton began to write plays in the early 1960s. He wrote his last novel, The Vision of Gombold Proval (posthumously published as Head to Toe), in 1959, and had his writing accepted soon afterward. In 1963 the BBC paid £65 for the radio play The Ruffian on the Stairbroadcast on 31 August 1964. It was substantially rewritten for the stage in 1966.Orton revelled in his achievement and poured out new works. He had completed Entertaining Mr Sloane by the time Ruffian was broadcast. He sent a copy to theatre agent Peggy Ramsay in December 1963. It premiered at the New Arts Theatre on 6 May 1964 under the direction of Michael Codron. Reviews ranged from praise to outrage.Entertaining Mr Sloane lost money in its three-week run, but critical praise from playwright Terence Rattigan, who invested £3,000 in it, ensured its survival. The play was transferred to Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End at the end of June and to the Queen’s Theatre in October. Sloane tied for first in the Variety Critics’ Poll for “Best New Play” and Orton came second for “Most Promising Playwright.” Within a year, Sloane was being performed in New York, Spain, Israel and Australia, as well as being made into a film and a television play.Orton’s next performed work was Loot. The first draft was written between June and October 1964 and entitled Funeral Games, a title Orton would drop at Halliwell’s suggestion but would later reuse. The play is a wild parody of detective fiction, adding the blackest farce and jabs at established ideas on death, the police, religion, and justice. Orton offered the play to Codron in October 1964 and it underwent sweeping rewrites before it was judged fit for the West End (for example, the character of “Inspector Truscott” had a mere eight lines in the initial first act.).

Orton reworked Loot with Williams in mind for Truscott. His other inspiration for the role was DS Harold Challenor.With the success of Sloane, Loot was hurried into pre-production despite its obvious flaws. Rehearsals began in January 1965 with a six-week tour culminating in a West End debut planned. The play opened in Cambridge on 1 February to scathing reviews.Orton, at odds with director Peter Wood over the plot, produced 133 pages of new material to replace, or add to, the original 90. The play received poor reviews in Brighton, Oxford, Bournemouth, Manchester, and finally Wimbledon in mid-March. Discouraged, Orton and Halliwell went on an 80-day holiday in Tangier, Morocco.

In January 1966, Loot was revived, with Oscar Lewenstein taking up an option. Before his production, it had a short run (11–23 April) at the University Theatre, Manchester.Orton’s growing experience led him to cut over 600 lines, raising the tempo and improving the characters’ interactions.Directed by Braham Murray, the play garnered more favourable reviews. Orton continued his habit of clashing with directors  but the additional cuts they agreed to further improved the play. It premiered in London on 27 September 1966, to rave reviews. Loot moved to the Criterion Theatre in November, raising Orton’s confidence to new heights while he was in the middle of writing What the Butler Saw.Loot went on to win several awards and firmly established Orton’s fame. He sold the film rights for £25,000 although he was certain it would flop. It did, and Loot on Broadway repeated the failure of Sloane. But Orton, still on an absolute high, proceeded over the next ten months to revise The Ruffian on the Stair and The Erpingham Camp for the stage as a double called Crimes of Passion; wrote Funeral Games; wrote the screenplay Up Against It for the Beatles; and worked on What the Butler Saw.The Good and Faithful Servant was a transitional work for Orton. A one-act television play, it was completed by June 1964 but first broadcast by Associated-Rediffusion on 6 April 1967.

Orton’s take on The Bacchae, written through mid-1965 and offered to Rediffusion in October of that year, was broadcast on 27 June 1966 as the ‘pride’ segment in their series Seven Deadly Sins.Orton wrote and rewrote Funeral Games four times from July to November 1966. Created for a 1967 Rediffusion series, The Seven Deadly Virtues, Orton’s play dealt with charity—especially Christian charity—in a confusion of adultery and murder. Rediffusion did not use the play; instead, it was made as one of the first productions of the new ITV company Yorkshire Television, and broadcast posthumously on 26 August 1968.In March 1967 Orton and Halliwell had intended another extended holiday in Libya, but they returned home after one day because the only hotel accommodation they could find was a boat that had been converted into a hotel/nightclub. Orton was working hard, energised and happy; Halliwell was increasingly depressed, argumentative, and plagued with mystery ailments.Orton’s controversial farce What The Butler Saw debuted in the West End after his death in 1969. It opened at the Queen’s Theatre with Sir Ralph Richardson, Coral Browne, Stanley Baxter, and Hayward Morse.

Sadly Orton was brutally murdered on 9 August 1967, a0when Kenneth Halliwell bludgeoned 34-year-old Orton to death at his home in Noel Road, Islington, London, with nine hammer blows to the head, and then committed suicide with an overdose of 22 Nembutal tablets washed down with the juice from canned grapefruit. Investigators determined that Halliwell had died first, because Orton’s sheets were still warm.

Tribute to E M Forster OM CH

English novelist E. M. Forster OM, CH was Born 1st January 1879. He was also a short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster had a humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy. His 1908 novel, A Room with a View, is his most optimistic work, while A Passage to India (1924) brought him his greatest success.Howards End tells a story of social and familial relations in turn-of-the-century England. Howards End is generally considered to be Forster’s masterpiece. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Howards End 38th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

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A Room with a View is about a young woman in the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century. Merchant-Ivory produced an award-winning film adaptation in 1985. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked A Room with a View 79th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.The first part of the novel is set in Florence, Italy, It features a young woman named Lucy Honeychurch who is touring Italy with her overbearing older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett. At their hotel, “The Pension Bertolini.”they meet Mr. Emerson and his son, George Emerson, and also meet an Anglican clergyman named Mr. Beebe. The next day, Lucy embarks on a tour of Florence with another guest, Miss Eleanor Lavish, a novelist who shows Lucy the back streets of Florence and subsequently loses her in Santa Croce, where Lucy meets the Emersons again and while in Santa Croce Lucy sees the seedy underbelly of Florence and faints but George Emerson catches her, As a result Lucy takes a bit of a shine to George. Lucy decides to avoid George, partly because she is confused by her feelings and partly to keep her cousin happy. Later on in the week, a party made up of Beebe, Eager, the Emersons, Miss Lavish, Miss Bartlett and Lucy Honeychurch make their way to Fiesole In the fields, Lucy asks her driver where Mr. Beebe is. Misunderstanding, he leads her to a field where George stands. George is overcome by Lucy’s beauty among a field of violets and kisses her, but they are interrupted by Lucy’s cousin, who is outraged. The two women leave for Rome the next day before Lucy is able to say goodbye to George.The second part starts off in Rome, where Lucy spends time with Cecil Vyse, who proposes to Lucy twice in Italy; but she rejects him both times.Lucy then returns to Surrey, England to her family home, Windy Corner. Cecil proposes yet again at Windy Corner, and this time she accepts. Cecil is a sophisticated and “superior” Londoner who is desirable in terms of rank and class, even though he despises country society; he is also somewhat of a comic figure in the novel, as he gives himself airs and is quite pretentious. The vicar, Mr. Beebe, announces that new tenants have leased a local cottage; the new arrivals turn out to be the Emersons. Fate takes an ironic turn as Lucy’s brother, Freddy, meets George and invites him to go skinny dipping in a nearby pond with himself and Mr Beebe. They are interrupted by Lucy, her mother, and Cecil. Freddy later invites George to play tennis at Windy Corner. Although Lucy is initially mortified at the thought of facing both George and Cecil (who is also visiting Windy Corner that Sunday), she resolves to be gracious. George catches Lucy alone in the garden and kisses her again. George points out that Cecil only sees her as an “object for the shelf” and will never love her enough to grant her independence, while George loves her for who she is. Lucy is moved but remains firm. until events come to a head andshe immediately breaks off her engagement to Cecil She decides to flee and accidentally encounters Mr. Emerson senior who finds out Lucy has been in love with his son George all along.In some books, an appendix to the book is given entitled “A View without a Room,” written by Forster in 1958 as to what occurred between Lucy and George after the events of the novel. It is Forster’s afterthought of the novel, and he quite clearly states that “I cannot think where George and Lucy live.” They were quite comfortable up until the end of the war, with Charlotte Bartlett leaving them all her money in her will, but World War I ruined their happiness according to Forster. George became a conscientous objector, lost his government job but was given non-combatant duties to avoid prison, leaving Mrs Honeychurch deeply upset with her son-in-law. Mr Emerson died during the course of the war, shortly after having an argument with the police about Lucy continuing to play Beethoven during the war. Eventually they had three children, two girls and a boy, and moved to Carshalton from Highgate to find a home. Despite them wanting to move into Windy Corner after the death of Mrs Honeychurch, Freddy sold the house to support his family as he was “an unsuccessful but prolific doctor.”After the outbreak of World War II, George immediately enlisted as he saw the need to stop Hitler and the Nazi regime but he unfortunately was not faithful to Lucy during his time at war. Lucy was left homeless after her flat in Watford was bombed and the same happened to her married daughter in Nuneaton. George rose to the rank of corporal but was taken prisoner by the Italians in Africa. Once Italy fell George returned to Florence finding it “in a mess” but he was unable to find the Pension Bertolini, stating “the View was still there and that the room must be there, too, but could not be found.” He ends by stating that George and Lucy await World War III, but with no word on where they live, for even he does not know

Howard’s End is about three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Tibby, and Helen), who have much in common with the real-life Bloomsbury Group; and the Basts, a struggling couple in the lower-middle class. The Schlegel sisters try to help the poor Basts and try to make the Wilcoxes less prejudiced. The Schlegels frequently encounter the Wilcoxes. The youngest, Helen, is attracted to the younger Wilcox brother, Paul. The eldest, Margaret, becomes friends with Paul’s mother, Ruth Wilcox. Ruth’s most prized personal possession is her family house at Howards End. She wishes that Margaret could live there, as her own husband and children do not value the house and its rich history, So Ruth, who is terminally ill, bequeaths the cottage to Margaret causing great consternation among the Wilcoxes. So Mrs Wilcox’s widowed husband, Henry, and his children decide not to tell Margaret about her inheritance.Not knowing about the inheritance, free-spirited Margaret becomes friends with Henry Wilcox and eventually marries him. However Henry’s elder son Charles and his wife try to keep Margaret from taking possession of Howards End.On Henry’s advice, Helen tells Leonard Bast to quit his respectable job as a clerk at an insurance company, because the company stands outside a protective group of companies and thus is vulnerable to failure. Bast then loses his tenuous hold on financial solvency. and Helen tries to help young Leonard Bast (perhaps in part out of guilt about having intervened in his life to begin with). Sadly it all goes terribly wrong when it is revealed that Bast’s wife had an affair with Henry in Cyprus ten years previously but he had then carelessly abandoned her.Margaret confronts Henry about his ill-treatment, and he is ashamed of the affair but unrepentant about his harsh treatment of her. In a moment of pity for the poor, doomed Leonard Bast, Helen has an affair with him. Finding herself pregnant, she leaves England to travel through Germany to conceal her condition, but eventually returns to England when she receives news of her Aunt Juley’s illness but refuses to meet with Margaret but is tricked into a meeting at Howards End Henry and Margaret plan an intervention with a doctor, thinking Helen’s evasive behavior is a sign of mental illness. When they come upon Helen at Howards End, they also discover the pregnancy. Margaret tries in vain to convince Henry to forgive Helen. Unaware of Helen’s presence Mr. Bast arrives at Howards End wishing to speak with Margaret, whereupon Henry’s son, Charles, attacks him, and accidentally kills him, Charles is charged with manslaughter and sent to jail for three years. The ensuing scandal and shock cause Henry to reevaluate his life…

apti-emfA Passage to India (1924) is  set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time magazine included the novel in its “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005″. The novel is based on Forster’s experiences in India. E.M.Forster borrowed the book’s title from Walt Whitman’s poem Leaves of Grass.The story revolves around Dr. Aziz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, A young British schoolmistress, Adela Quested, and her elderly friend, Mrs. Moore,who visit the fictional city of Chandrapore, British India. Adela is to marry Mrs. Moore’s son, Ronny Heaslop, the city magistrate.Meanwhile, Dr. Aziz, a young Indian Muslim physician sees a strange Englishwoman at his favourite mosque, who turns out to be Mrs Moore, and the two chat and part as friends. Mrs Moore relates her experience at the mosque to Ronny Heaslop, her son. Adela, is intrigued, and attends a party held by Mr. Turton, the city tax collector, where she meets Cyril Fielding, headmaster of Chandrapore’s government-run college for Indians. Later on Fielding invites Adela and Mrs. Moore to a tea party with him and a Hindu-Brahmin professor named Narayan Godbole. On Adela’s request, he also extends his invitation to Dr. Aziz. At Fielding’s tea party, Fielding and Aziz become great friends and Aziz promises to take Mrs. Moore and Adela to see the Marabar Caves, a distant cave complex.Aziz and the women begin to explore the caves. In the first cave, however, Mrs. Moore is overcome with claustrophobia. Later Aziz sees Adela speaking to another young Englishwoman, Miss Derek, who has arrived with Fielding. Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Aziz return to Chandrapore on the train. When the train arrives At the train station, Dr. Aziz is arrested and charged with sexually assaulting Adela in a cave. She reports the alleged incident to the British authorities.The run-up to Aziz’s trial for attempted sexual assault releases the racial tensions between the British and the Indians. The only actual evidence the British have is the field glasses in the possession of Dr. Aziz. Despite this, the British colonists firmly believe that Aziz is guilty however Fielding proclaims his belief in Aziz’s innocence and the Indians, who consider the assault allegation a fraud aimed at ruining their community’s reputation, welcome him. Mrs. Moore is unexpectedly apathetic and irritable. Her experience in the cave seems to have ruined her faith in humanity. Although she curtly professes her belief in Aziz’s innocence, she does nothing to help him. Ronny, alarmed by his mother’s assertion that Aziz is innocent, decides to arrange for her return by ship to England before she can testify to this effect at the trial. Mrs. Moore dies during the voyage. Her absence from India becomes a major issue at the trial, where Aziz’s legal defenders assert that her testimony alone, had it been available, would have proven the accused’s innocence. After a while Adela herself becomes confused and starts to question Aziz’s guilt.

 

New Years Day

New Year’s Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year’s Day is the closest thing to being the world’s only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year. New Year’s Day is a postal holiday in the United States.The Romans dedicated New Year’s Day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings for whom the first month of the year (January) is also named. After Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46 BC and was subsequently murdered, the Roman Senate voted to deify him on the 1st January 42 BC in honor of his life and his institution of the new rationalized calendar. The month originally owes its name to the deity Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. This suggests that New Year’s celebrations are founded on pagan traditions. Some have suggested this occurred in 153 BC, when it was stipulated that the two annual consuls (after whose names the years were identified) entered into office on that day, though no consensus exists on the matter. Dates in March, coinciding with the spring equinox, or commemorating the Annunciation of Jesus, along with a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December.

Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year. This was a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen not to. Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752. The March 25 date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1 date was known as Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, considered to be the eighth day of Christ’s life, counting from December 25 when his birth is celebrated. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar. Celebrations held world-wide on January 1 as part of New Year’s Day commonly include the following:copious amounts of alcoholParadesAmerican football: In the United States, January 1 is the traditional date for many post-season college football bowl games, which are usually accompanied by parades and other activities to celebrate the eventsFootball: In Europe, Association Football, where a Full Fixture programme[clarification needed] is usually played throughout the Premier League and the rest of the League/Non League system in EnglandIce hockey, most famously the Winter Classic in North America, a National Hockey League game that is played outdoorsConcertsEntertainment, usually enjoyed from the comfort of homeFamily timeTraditional mealsChurch servicesAn annual dip in ice-cold water by hearty individuals, most famously by members of the Polar Bear Club

Global Family Day

gfdGlobal Family Day, (One Day of Peace and Sharing) is celebrated every January 1 in the United States and around the world as a global day of peace and sharing. It is a day where individuals and families share food with friends (especially the needy), make personal pledges of nonviolence, and spread a message of peace and sharing by ringing bells or beating a drum in hopes of making society and the world a safer place to live. Global Family Day grew out of the United Nations Millennium celebration, “One Day In Peace.”Originally supported in the United States by Linda Grover, the original idea itself is difficult to pin down because many grassroots efforts around the world had independently sprung up to target this date as a day for peace and had worked separately to prevail on local governments and the U.N. to establish such a day. These efforts included a 1996 children’s book “One Day In Peace, January 1, 2000″ by Steve Diamond and Robert Alan Silverstein, which was translated into 22 languages. As a result, nearly 140 nations were poised to respond to the November 1997 declaration of the U.N. General Assembly that the first year of the new millennium should launch an “International Decade for the Culture of Peace & Nonviolence for the Children of the World” which would be ushered in by “One Day of Peace.” Finally, in November 1999, the U.N. issued a formal invitation for world participation. As the independent grassroots organizations around the world joined the effort, one notable outcome was a special ceremony initiated by Gerry Eitner between Israeli and Palestinian families, at a refugee camp in Nablus.

Later that year, the United States Congress followed the U.N. initiative and unanimously voted to establish the first day of every year as a special time of peace and sharing. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly established this Observance as a recurring annual event, also recommending that all Member states recognize the new holiday To date, more than 20 heads of state and many ambassadors have endorsed what has now become known as Global Family Day. Global Family Day has twice received the unanimous support of the U.S. Congres, the UN General Assembly (Resolutions, and more than 30 sitting heads of state and ambassadors representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population.People of the United States have been urged to observe Global Family Day and One Day of Peace and Sharing by the President who issues an annual proclamation, calling upon the people of the United States to observe Global Family Day, One Day of Peace and Sharing, and for other purposes.In 2005, Dr. Milton A. Reid and Cassandra West, Chairman and President respectively of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute, were invited to the United Nations for the support of Global Family Day for the International Day of Families. On September 26, 2006, President George W. Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation for Family Day, as special request, of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute, to the White House, Faith Based Initiatives office. The organization’s mission is to unite, inform, motivate, and connect people, institutions, and governments of the world through the celebration of this day of peace and sharing every January 1 and related year-around programs.