On Friday, December 10, Evergreen and Swift Water elementary schools both officially unveiled peace poles at small ceremonies held at each school.
A peace pole is a monument that displays the message "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in the language of the country where it has been placed, and usually includes three to thirteen additional translations. At our schools, the peace poles display the message in English, Norwegian, Croatian, Lushootseed (Puyallup Tribe of Indians), Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Yoruba (West African).
Ceremonies included students sharing essays and art representing what peace means to them, sharing the phrase "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in the eight languages referenced above as well as remarks from the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Gig Harbor North Rotary, and Gig Harbor Sister Cities board representatives (Norwegian and Croatian connections).
Placing of peace poles began in Japan in 1983, and now there are over 200,000 in about 200 countries. They are commonly installed at public gathering places, such as community parks or near the entrances of churches or schools. Peace poles represent the highest aspirations of peace and goodwill inherent in the human heart.
According to the The Peace Pole Project website: Peace poles are now the most recognized monument dedicated to peace on earth. They are planted to uplift, empower, and elevate the human consciousness to embrace the oneness of our global family.
The Gig Harbor Rotary Club and The Gig Harbor Sister Cities Board has been working with Sister Cities International to establish partnerships with like-minded cities in both Norway (Bodø) and Croatia (Brač), focusing on cultural/student exchanges, economic development, green industry, and philanthropy. Rotary Club selected Evergreen Elementary and Swift Water Elementary as sites for the peace poles to be dedicated on December 10.
December 10 is Peace Day in Norway, the day the Nobel Peace Prize is celebrated, which is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This date is also Heritage Day in Gig Harbor.