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June 1 is International Children's Day

While Memorial Day honors those we’ve lost in battle, today is a day to celebrate the future. June 1st was proclaimed International Children’s Day by The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925. It is widely celebrated in former Soviet nations such as Russia as well as China. Science and technology museums in Beijing spent the weekend getting ready for an influx of children, and in Russia, Andrei Fursenko, the Minister of Education and Science, gave a speech during which he said, “In Russia the attention on this day is focused on each of 30 million young citizens. For us adults this is first of all a reminder of our responsibility.”

Child abuse and adoption are two of the most pressing issues surrounding Russian children. According to The Voice of Russia, “Last year, over 108,000 children were exposed to violence, of them 1.6 thousand died at the hand of adults and 2.4 thousand sustained serious harm.” On a more positive note, in the past three years “334,888 orphan children and children left without parental care have found their family,” Fursenko said, adding that “over 100,000 children are still waiting for their parents.” Strollerderby reported recently on the Tennessee family that returned their adopted son to Russia, resulting in Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov banning all future adoptions by Americans, “pending a new agreement with the United States to regulate them.”

But what about Children’s Day celebrations in the US? For most American school kids, today is just another day. One Illinois father hopes to change that.

Children’s Day in the US is celebrated the second Sunday in June, making it June 13, 2010. John Ross of Batavia, IL, has started a movement to “expand and revive” Children’s Day in this country. Though Ross is clearly a Christian, his mission seems to be a secular one of loving and affirming our children. According to the National Children’s Day Facebook page, Ross has received “proclamations from the mayors of Batavia & Aurora, Illinois” and the governor of Illinois has a proclamation “in the works.” Do you see a need for Children’s Day to be celebrated in the US? If so, what types of activities do you think should mark the occasion, lest it become just another Hallmark holiday?

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