The Sounds of Peace

On the Friday after the World Trade Center fell, I was in Geneva, Switzerland, attending what was billed as a “silent” march.  Citizens of the world came together there in Geneva to show solidarity with we devastated Americans.  We walked la Place des Naçions, through the area of Geneva that is home to a dozen or so international organizations.  Organizations that promote peace, international cooperation, and help for our fellow man.

United Nations, Geneva Switzerland.  (Google Image)

United Nations, Geneva Switzerland.
(Google Image)

That day, people from every country on the planet, it seemed, marched to show their opposition to the hatred that attacked America and destroyed the towers.

Flags of the United Nations, Geneva (Google Image)

Flags of the United Nations, Geneva
(Google Image)

But it was anything but the “silent” march planned.  Instead, I was surrounded by thousands of voices, speaking in sympathy, in harmony, in defiance of evil.  The voices spoke in a thousand languages in righteous anger and solidarity.

It was the sound of peace.

I hadn’t heard that sound of peace again until last night.

Sometimes I forget that some of my ancestors came from other lands with other languages.  Sometimes we all forget that we are a nation of immigrants.  A nation that was built on the blood, sweat, tears and dreams of people from everywhere.

But we should never do that.  There are things we as Americans can never forget.  And the sound of voices singing one of our most cherished American songs, in whatever language they speak, and with whomever they love, is one of the most positive things that we should never forget.



Filed under History, Humor, Neighbors, Taking Care of Each Other

71 responses to “The Sounds of Peace

  1. Pingback: Learning not to assume | Gail's Blog

  2. I loved this commercial – it expressed something so precious, that it is the people in America that make America beautiful. We are all immigrants. To those who hated it, it’s purely hypocritical. Hating this is like hating what makes us Americans.


  3. Pingback: The Sounds of Peace | Gail's Blog

  4. Thank you for this one, the reminder and the thought behind it. I love this piece that went with it. I thought you might enjoy this part:


    • Thank you for that — I hadn’t seen it. Now I’m wiping away tears. Beautiful. And yes, that’s what we are, who we are, what we should be!

      Hope you are doing OK, my friend.


  5. I’m so glad to hear someone take something positive from this commercial. The negative reactions I have been reading and hearing actually shocked me. I don’t know why. I suppose at his point it should be expected from ignorance.
    Thank you for speaking up for the true spirit of the piece.


  6. It’s a great commercial. I loved it when I saw it. It doesn’t deserve the controversy.


  7. I always liked the Swiss… and their cheese…


  8. Another blog I read has already posted about the negative side this song has engendered & the hate comments. Too bad people can’t realize we weren’t all born speaking English.


  9. Amen, Elyse. Thank you for the lovely reminder.


  10. I didn’t watch the Super Bowl – love this commercial. Thanks for sharing this one.


  11. Snoring Dog Studio

    I didn’t watch the commercial but I definitely agree with your sentiments and find it repulsive that we live among such bigots. My program at work is airing a bilingual spot that I helped work on – in English and Spanish. The Dept. of H&W got a letter from an outraged citizen who complained that we were discriminating against the 200 other languages spoken in Idaho (Spanish is the predominant second language spoken here). It was a roundabout way to say that the commercial should only have been in English. Then he threatened us with a lawsuit. We live in a nation of nut cases. I’m glad Coca Cola did this – it definitely shows us, though, that we have a lot of work to do here in our country to achieve tolerance.


    • “A nation of nut cases.” Yup.

      I work in litigation, and have had some silly cases — I always tell folks I’m working with that in America, anybody can sue anybody over any thing. It’s a blessing and a curse! But this guy? Perhaps you should have suggested that the office was going to do print editions to send to the households speaking the other 200 languages — at taxpayer expense. It might have shut him up for a while.

      Why do people care? Why do they forget where they came from. It is so maddening!!


  12. aFrankAngle

    A great commercial …. and it happens to be another tool for people to show their ignorance (which they are doing quite well.)


  13. cortney

    Well said and worth remembering. Thanks, Elyse.


  14. Oh, I absolutely loved that commercial. It was one of the only good ones. But I immediately knew that there would be so much backlash for it.


  15. I had not seen that. Thanks for sharing, Elyse. Amazing how great a country you guys live in. We have so many different people too – it makes us who we are as a nation now, and we are proud of it. It sounds like you are too.


  16. I loved that commercial too, and I’m so naive that when I first heard about backlash, I assumed people were talking about some other Coke commercial.


    • Actually, the minute I heard the Spanish I knew it was going to lead some folks to show their true (lack of) colors. But I was thinking that there must have been two commercials, because I didn’t catch the gay parents. The gay guys are just a part of the whole thing. No sign points to them as being “different”. As it should be.


  17. I don’t drink soda, but I am going to buy myself some Coke this week in honor of that touching, lovely tribute. Anyone who fails to appreciate that song fails to understand the first thing about what it means to be American, and what it means to be human.
    I say we vote them off the island……


  18. Wow! The advertisement transcends the product, and your memory is a beautiful companion to the ad.
    I feel a little better now about all the money I spend on diet coke now.

    (But it still tastes like battery acid.)


  19. Deborah the Closet Monster

    I almost managed to finish my morning walk without crying, and then this. Thank you.


  20. I very much liked the commercial too. Then I read in the papers this morning how far righters are trashing the commercial and Coke. My guess is almost all of the negatives are from people whose ancestors came here speaking another language.


    • Doesn’t that make you want to tear out your hair, Mercy?

      I was so annoyed when what I predicted last night would happen, did, that I was tempted to just rant about ijits. Instead I listened to the song again and thought of this.


  21. Oh wow, that’s gorgeous. I didn’t watch the game nor any of the commercials. Thanks for sharing this.


  22. Moved by the commercial last night, I went to youtube to listen to it again. At that time there were 300+ views. After reading your post today, I returned to find 1,018,635. People know something good when they see and hear it. Truly, a beautiful segment as are the others also, produced by Coca-Cola that probably came out producing THE commercial.


  23. Sadly, there are a lot of idiots out there attacking this commercial. Sigh…


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