annually on April 2nd (since 1989)
Ann Landers on April 2nd, 1989
Forgiveness doesn't always come easy, and broken relationships are often hard to repair. Friends and family members sometimes let the emotional distance between each other grow for years—or even decades—until it feels like their relationships may never be mended. Reconciliation Day is used to write a letter, make a phone call, or to connect with an estranged loved one in another way, in an effort to forgive and to work to mend a broken relationship.
On April 2, 1989, syndicated columnist Ann Landers—real name Esther "Eppie" Lederer—responded to a letter she had received from someone in Van Nuys, a Los Angeles neighborhood. The writer had said that the years were flying by and that as of late, time was more precious. They said their parents were getting old, their aunts and uncles were getting sick, and they hadn't seen their cousins for years. They asserted that their friendships were becoming more precious as the years passed, but acknowledged that some of their friendships had been rocky or had been left unnurtured for years. The writer went on to say:
"Wouldn't it be terrific if a special day could be set aside to reach out and make amends? We could call it 'Reconciliation Day.' Everyone would vow to write a letter or make a phone call and mend a strained or broken relationship.
"It could also be the day on which we would all agree to accept the olive branch extended by a former friend. This day could be the starting place. We could go from there to heal the wounds in our hearts and rejoice in a new beginning."
In Landers' letter back, she said it would be wonderful if anyone who had a falling out would pick up the phone and call the person. "Go ahead and do it!" she told her readers. However, he stopped short of officially declaring it Reconciliation Day for subsequent years.
In her April 2, 1992, column, Landers' shared the following message that had been sent to her by T.R. in Orlando:
"It has been quite a while since you printed that wonderful column on Reconciliation Day. It worked wonders in our family, and I hope you will run it again for those who may not have seen it the first time. In fact, why don't you make it an annual event-and name it Ann Landers' Reconciliation Day. How about it?"
Landers responded to T.R. by writing, "From now on, April 2 will be Reconciliation Day."
How to Observe
Take part in the day by reaching out to a loved one from whom you are estranged, in an effort to repair the relationship and to reconcile. Write them a letter, send them an email, call them on the phone, or pay them a visit. If you feel you have positive relationships with your loved ones, you could reach out to old friends you haven't talked to in a long time. If someone reaches out to you today with the hope of reconciliation, extend your hand to them and work to begin a new relationship with them on a fresh footing.