When Franklin Roosevelt called on Americans to celebrate the first UN Day, the term “United Nations” had just been coined to describe the alliance that stood against fascism’s march. But for a dedicated group of internationalists, it was more than a slogan, more even than an alliance, it was the embodiment of an idea that would come to final fruition with the signing of the UN Charter on October 24, 1945.
Today, UN Day is as much about partnering for the future as it is about celebrating the past. It is about spreading the word of the UN’s recent successes in fulfilling its mission as a peacemaker, watchdog, and humanitarian. Thanks to Security Council action, Syria’s chemical arsenal is being eliminated. The UN is also upholding and advancing the connection between LGBT rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through its Free and Equal Campaign. Meanwhile, the UN helps vaccinate nearly 60% of the world’s children and plays a critical role in every facet of humanitarian assistance.
UN Day is as relevant today as ever. Now, Americans can not only celebrate the UN’s achievements, but join in their accomplishments. By lending their voices, their energy, and their resources, people in all corners of the world are empowered to work with the UN to live up to the aspiration of the Charter to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,” and “promote social progress.” Join the conversation online and tell us how and why you support the UN using hashtags #UNDay and #happybirthdayUN.