The city of Independence is unique in many ways. Having the U.N. Peace Plaza & Fountain near Lexington Avenue and River Boulevard is certainly one of them. U.N. headquarters in New York City is the only other city in the entire world that has a statue dedicated to the U.N.

The city of Independence is unique in many ways. Having the U.N. Peace Plaza & Fountain near Lexington Avenue and River Boulevard is certainly one of them. U.N. headquarters in New York City is the only other city in the entire world that has a statue dedicated to the U.N.


This coming Tuesday is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. Resolution 57/129 describes it as “a day to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication, and courage and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.”


There are currently 16 peacekeeping operations utilizing around 120,000 U.N. personnel. The U.S. is the only country deploying more military personnel. The 2012 peacekeeping budget is about $7.84 billion, of which the U.S. pays 27.14 percent or about $2.13 billion. Compared to the $3.7 trillion cost of the war in Afghanistan, this is a fantastic bargain amounting to less than 0.5 percent of global military spending, or about a week’s U.S. military expense in Afghanistan.


U.N. peacekeeping can be lethal. For the past four years the United Nations Association of USA/Greater Kansas City Chapter has organized an April commemorative service at the U.N. Peace Plaza. It is held in association with the Truman Library and U.N. officers in training at Fort Leavenworth; and the names are solemnly read of those who died in the line of duty during the past year.


U.N. peacekeepers have been performing a vital service that has decreased the number of civil wars throughout the world, thus greatly decreasing human suffering too great to describe and too grave to ignore.


If you drive by the U.N. Peace Plaza and Fountain this coming Tuesday, or any day for that matter, I hope you tip your hat or wave your hand as a symbol of support and respect for the services being done in the name of peace and justice by U.N. peacekeepers.