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World Hello Day

On World Hello Day, people greet each other to show their support for world peace. The greetings demonstrate to world leaders that conflicts should be settled with communication instead of by force and violence. Anyone can participate in the day, which can be done by greeting at least ten people. The day highlights how anyone can make a contribution to world peace.

Founded by two brothers, Brian and Michael McCormack, the day was created in response to the Yom Kippur War, which was fought between Israel and Egypt in October 1973. That year, the brothers sent 1360 letters in seven languages to world leaders around the world, encouraging them to participate in the first year's celebration. It has since been observed by people in at least 180 countries. More than 30 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have participated in the day, as have many other world leaders, entertainers, and authors.

The Yom Kippur War began on October 6, 1973. Six years prior, in 1967, Israel quadrupled its size during the Six-Day War, by gaining the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. Anwar El-Sadat became Egypt's president in 1970, and it was his hope that peace with Israel could be achieved and that with it would come stability in his country and a return of the Sinai Peninsula. But it seemed unlikely Israel would cede the Sinai, so El-Sadat devised a plan to attack Israel to make his bargaining position more favorable. He first opened up communication with Washington, D.C., an Israeli ally, as he knew they would be needed for prospective peace talks, and he also formed an alliance with Syria.

As Egypt launched their attack, with Syria's backing and also with help from Iraq and Jordan, many Israeli soldiers were observing Yom Kippur, so posts were left unguarded. The Arab countries made initial gains and it took a few days for Israel to get mobilized. They were able to push back the Arabs, but it didn't come without heavy losses of men and equipment. A ceasefire was secured through the United Nations on October 25.

Israel's victory came at a great cost, with many casualties. The following April, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir stepped down. Egypt had lost the war, but Sadat gained leverage in the Middle East and the opportunity to seek peace. Two disengagement agreements were signed between Egypt and Israel in 1974, which gave Egypt back part of the Sinai Peninsula. In 1979, Menachem Begin, Israel's Prime Minister, signed a peace agreement with El-Sadat. The first peace agreement between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors, it stipulated the rest of the Sinai Peninsula be returned, and in 1982 it was.

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by greeting at least ten people! This is done to demonstrate to world leaders that personal communication can lead to world peace and is a better alternative to solving the world's problems than using force and violence. You could greet people with a handshake, a high five, or by just saying "hi." Some other ways to spend the day could include reading letters sent to the day's founders by luminaries or by reading a book about the Yom Kippur War.

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