"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Friday, June 4, 2010

Peace Poles: Planting Seeds of Peace


The recent (May 6, 2010) gathering at University of Washington, Tacoma was truly an auspicious occasion. Following the testimony of the Hibakusha (survivor of the atomic bombing) of Hiroshima, Ms. Tokie Mizuno, we moved outside to the site of the new Peace Pole for the dedication ceremony.

A Peace Pole is a hand-crafted monument that displays the message and prayer "May Peace Prevail on Earth" on each of its four or six sides, usually in different languages. There are tens of thousands of Peace Poles in countries all over the world dedicated as monuments to peace. They serve as constant reminders for us to visualize and pray for world peace.

This particular day was one of great remembrance and reconciliation. Besides remembering (and learning about) the horrors of the use of nuclear weapons on our fellow human beings, we also remembered the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II (Tacoma's Japanese Language School was used to process internees at the beginning of the war) and the fact that the University of Washington, Tacoma campus rests on land that was originally inhabited by (and by all rights still belongs to) the Puyallup Tribe.

The dedication ceremony was a beautiful sharing of many traditions, including Native American, Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Protestant. The words and music were offered as prayers for peace and reconciliation, and at the end of the ceremony everyone "passed the peace" to each other. Watch a brief video of the ceremony by Rodney Herold:

The Peace Pole is like a tree in that people who pass by or sit by it and read those words, "May Peace Prevail on Earth," will eat the fruit, and it can nourish them on their journey. Who knows how many more seeds of peace they will continue to plant. Let us hope that many more Peace Poles will be planted, and may their message one day overwhelm the damaging messages of fear, hatred and violence so ubiquitous in our world. You can plant one anywhere - in your front yard, church or school, wherever people will see it.

May Peace Prevail on Earth,


Click here to learn more about the Peace Pole Project.

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