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Megan Card, Published August 06 2012

Peace Pole rededicated in memory of Hiroshima

FARGO – The handcrafted Peace Pole located outside Nativity Catholic Church here has a message in four different languages engraved on its sides, each carrying the same translation: “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

A stationary reminder of world peace, the 8-foot Nativity Church pole received its own recognition Monday night at a rededication ceremony.

In observance of Hiroshima Remembrance Day on Monday, the anniversary of the day the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city, church and community members gathered for the 10th anniversary of the planting of the pole at the corner of 18th Avenue and 11th Street South.

A gift from the North Dakota Peace Coalition, the Peace Pole is one of 15 in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Peace Poles are not about making a political statement, they are a symbol to “visualize, pray and work for world peace,” said Howard Barlow, a member of the Peace Alliance of the Red River Valley.

“It’s a simple message, prayer, belief – whatever you want to call it – that can be internalized as a personal step to world peace,” Barlow said.

Five years ago, Barlow and a group of community members decided to create a local version of the Peace Alliance, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that promotes “civic engagement to a world of peace,” according to its website.

In the past few years, the Peace Alliance of the Red River Valley, a non-political, non-denominational group, has focused on the expansion of Peace Poles, Paula Larsen, another member of the Peace Alliance, said.

The Nativity Church pole was one of the first in the area, said Cathy Schwinden, Nativity’s social justice coordinator.

“World peace is an international concern that needs to be discussed at a local and global level,” Schwinden said. “Major societal changes need to happen, and the pole and its message symbolize this.”

Peace Poles are not just appearing in the F-M area. The Peace Pole initiative began in 1955 in response to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Today, there are more than 200,000 poles planted in nearly every country in the world.

To purchase a pole, which costs $140 on average, contact the Peace Pole Project at (845) 877-6093 or online at http://peacepoleproject.org/.

Peace Pole locations

• Bethesda Lutheran Church, 4001 4th Ave. S., Moorhead

• Faith Lutheran Church, 127 2nd Ave. E., West Fargo

• First Lutheran Church, 326 Bluff St., Enderlin, N.D.

• Nativity Catholic Church, 1825 11th St. S., Fargo

• Peace Lutheran Church, 1011 12th Ave. N., Fargo

• St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 120 21st Ave. N., Fargo

• Sisters of the Presentation, 1101 32nd Ave. S., Fargo

• Great Northern Park, 400 Broadway, Fargo

• Bluestem Center for the Arts, 801 50th Ave. SW, Moorhead

• Carlson home (residence), 1237 2nd St. N., Fargo

• Barlow home (residence), 1214 Elm St. N., Fargo

• Farnham home (residence), 5529 134 Ave. SE, Enderlin, N.D.

• Peterson home (residence), 1362 2nd St. N., Fargo

• Saeger home (residence), 1217 Oak St., Fargo

• University Lutheran Center and ELCA Synod Office, 1201 13th St. N., Fargo (to be placed on Sept. 21, International Peace Day)

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